NCSL in the News | February 2017

2/1/2017

Feb. 28

Wave of Anti-Trump Protests Is ‘Balancing Act’ for Police
Wall Street Journal
Republican lawmakers in Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri and South Dakota have proposed bills increasing penalties for obstructing highways, according to Jonathan Griffin, who is tracking legislation related to protests for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
     
Trump invited a student to his joint address. Her story says a lot about his views on education reform.
Washington Post
Critics also argue that, despite the court rulings, the programs do violate the spirit of the separation of church and state. Some nonprofits that distribute tax-credit scholarships, for example, only allow the tuition to be used at certain religious schools, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
     
The Latest: Hawaii Bill Would Require Gray-Water Recycling
U.S. News & World Report
The National Conference of State Legislatures says the bill is unique, and most states consider tax incentives to promote gray water systems.
 
Breastfeeding debate, money-management issues on tap for Nevada Legislature
Las Vegas Sun 
Nevada is one of 29 states that exempt breastfeeding from indecent exposure laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Lawmakers push for hemp comeback
Wisconsin Law Journal
The federal government in 2014 passed the Farm Bill, which gave states the right to run hemp research programs. At least thirty states — including neighboring Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois — have passed legislation allowing cultivation of hemp, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Supreme Court weighs law banning sex offenders from Facebook
WPXI Pittsburgh
Georgia, Kentucky and Louisiana also have laws restricting sex offenders' use of use of social media sites. Nine other states require offenders to disclose their online usernames and profiles, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Lawmakers Push for Hemp Comeback in Wisconsin
AgWeb
The federal government in 2014 passed the Farm Bill, which gave states the right to run hemp research programs. At least thirty states — including neighboring Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois — have passed legislation allowing cultivation of hemp, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Breastfeeding debate, money-management issues coming up
Nevada Appeal
Nevada is one of 29 states that exempt breastfeeding from indecent exposure laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
     
Maryland Goes a Step Further to Rein in Drug Price Spikes
Regulatory Focus
According to the National Conference for State Legislatures, in 2017 so far, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington have all introduced transparency bills on pharmaceutical pricing.
 
Activists hope Massachusetts can go fossil fuel-free by 2050
PennEnergy
States like California and New York have also set renewable energy goals of 50 percent by 2030, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Vermont has a goal of 75 percent by 2032. The standards typically require utilities to sell a specified percentage or amount of renewable electricity.
 
Our view: Seat belts can make schoolbuses even safer
Duluth News Tribune
But they may want to get started. While only six states currently require seat belts on school buses, Minnesota is among 17 states currently considering legislation, as the National Conference of State Legislatures told MPR. The cause seems to be gaining momentum, including in St. Paul, where three bills similar to Simonson's have failed since 2011.

Feb. 27

Why So Few Women in State Politics?
New York Times
The total number of women winning in 2016 rose to 1,830, which is 22 more than the record set in 2020, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But this is nowhere near the surge that was anticipated. 
 
GM, Tech Industry at Loggerheads Over Self-Driving Cars
Fox Business
Last year, legislators introduced bills in 20 states that involve self-driving cars, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. This year, lawmakers in several states are looking at legislation modeled after legislation in Michigan that GM endorsed and that originally excluded tech companies from participating in so-called mobility on-demand services, or autonomous taxis.
 
Bill Would Allow Illinois Farmers to Grow Industrial Hemp
Chicago Tonight | WTTW
At least 16 states have legalized industrial hemp production for commercial purposes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Illinois passed legislation in 2014 allowing the state’s Department of Agriculture or state universities to grow hemp for research purposes.
 
Proposed "noncitizen" licenses concern Georgia immigrants ...
CBS46 News Atlanta
The National Conference of State Legislatures says people living in the country illegally are not eligible to receive driver's licenses in Georgia.
    
TABOR faces renewed, Republican-led effort for an overhaul at 25 ...
The Denver Post
More than 30 states impose a tax or expenditure limit and more than half use personal income as a benchmark, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. A half dozen use a population and inflation standard.

Trump-era challenges bring Ohio, Wisconsin leaders together
Columbus Dispatch
"I want to take the opportunity for two large states to join together and send a message to our federal government that we have a voice and we'd like to be heard as legislative leaders as some of this stuff is deliberated," Rosenberger said. People want their leaders to solve problems together, Vos said. He said the National Conference of State Legislatures also is "excited for the opportunity for Ohio and Wisconsin to join together and really reach out to our fellow legislators across the country to make sure that as Washington is thinking about changing how they operate ... that we have an opportunity to be at the table."
 
Victims plead for end to Nebraska rapists' parental rights
New Jersey Herald
About 35 states and the District of Columbia have laws terminating rapists' parental rights or restricting custody, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Arkansas committee advances tweaked tort proposal
Arkansas Online
Opponents generally say there is little fraud of this kind, and the burden on voters unduly restricts the right to vote and imposes unnecessary costs and administrative burdens on election administrators, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
     
Glass State House: Bentley isn't only one with campaign finance ...
AL.com
Last year, Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, accepted a $175.04 payment from the National Conference of State Legislatures and $871.38 from the Southern Regional Educational Board.
 
Bills targeting transgender bathroom access are floundering
Stuttgart Daily Leader
Other states with pending bathroom bills, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, include Alabama, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, South Carolina and Washington.
 
Political Scene: Airline-labor dispute has a RI connection
The Providence Journal
All four lawmakers — Representatives Carlos Tobon, D-Pawtucket, and Robert Phillips, D-Woonsocket; and Senators Maryellen Goodwin, D-Providence, and Roger Picard, D-Woonsocket — attended the National Conference of State Legislatures Legislative Summit last August in Chicago.
 
GOP lawmakers circulate bill, push for hemp comeback in Wisconsin
fox6now.com
At least thirty states — including neighboring Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois — already have passed legislation allowing cultivation of hemp, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
     
Hearing for Sen. Ericksen recall goes before Whatcom judge Thursday
The Bellingham Herald
State officials can be recalled in 19 states as well as D.C., according to the National Conference of State Legislatures website, which also noted such attempts at the state level don’t often succeed.
     
Jack Gould: Stop Nebraska's revolving door from government to lobbyist
Omaha World-Herald
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nonpartisan think tank, 34 states already have revolving door legislation. Nebraska continues to be one of the 16 states that doesn’t.

Feb. 24

Ohio, Wisconsin kick-start talks on managing Trump effect
News-Herald.com
Vos said topics for states include how they will react to repeal of the federal health care law and changes in how federal money is delivered to the states. He hopes the National Conference of State Legislatures will coordinate efforts across the country.

Arkansas Supreme Court Strikes Down Local Anti-Discrimination Law
NPR
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 states have passed "religious freedom restoration acts" since 1993.

Trump's order gives a boost to bathroom bills in 12 states
Washington Times
Twelve state legislatures are considering bills that would require transgender people to use bathroom and locker room facilities based on their “biological sex” or birth gender, according to the National Conference of States Legislatures.

Bills targeting transgender bathroom access are floundering
The Boston Globe
Other states with pending bathroom bills, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, include Alabama, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, South Carolina, and Washington.

School Vouchers: What They Are and Why People Are Talking ...
ATTN
The first voucher programs started in Maine and Vermont 140 years ago and were for children living in rural areas. Now, 14 states and the District of Columbia have traditional school voucher programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.

People are ripping the Trump administration for withdrawing Obama-era guidance on transgender protections
Business Insider
Twelve other states have prefiled or filed similar bills as of this month, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Those states are Alabama, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming.

Inslee signs bill to improve dental care for state tribes
The Olympian
Other states that have already permitted dental therapists include Vermont, Maine and Minnesota, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Alaska has Dental Health Aide Therapists that practice on tribal lands, but are not authorized in its state statute.

AM Roundup: Widespread voter fraud in New York? Schneiderman says no
Albany Times Union
In New York, 27.2 percent of state lawmakers are women, just higher than the 24.8 percent of female state lawmakers serving nationwide, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The number has increased slightly over recent legislative sessions. (TU)

The Latest: Ohio, Wisconsin leaders prepare for Trump effect ...
Your News Now
Vos says the goal is to partner with the National Conference of State Legislatures, the national speakers group and governors to tackle issues affected by a Trump presidency. Those include how states will need to react to the repeal of the federal health care law and to changes in how federal money is delivered to states.

Conservatives hail end of bathroom rule for transgender kids
Norman Transcript
Just one state, North Carolina, has enacted a law restricting access to bathrooms in government-owned buildings to the sex that appears on a person's birth certificate. Lawmakers in more than 10 states are considering similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

End of transgender bathroom rule gets conservative praise
KFVS
Just one state, North Carolina, has enacted a law restricting access to bathrooms in government-owned buildings to the sex that appears on a person's birth certificate. Lawmakers in more than 10 states are considering similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Trump administration lifts transgender bathroom guidelines
Indiana Gazette
Just one state, North Carolina, has enacted a law restricting access to bathrooms in government-owned buildings to the sex that appears on a person’s birth certificate. Lawmakers in more than 10 states are considering similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Trump's Lift Of Transgender Bathroom Protections Doesn't Affect California Schools
KPBS
Lawmakers in more than 10 states are considering similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Pittsburgh's Evancho requests meeting with Trump over transgender bathroom guidance
WPXI Pittsburgh
Lawmakers in more than 10 states are considering similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Feb. 23

Individual States Try to Address Student Debt
U.S. News & World Report
In addition to bills of rights, states are also stepping up to address student debt in new and creative ways. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, California, Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, North Dakota, Iowa and Rhode Island have all passed or drafted legislation that allows state residents to refinance their existing education debt at lower interest rates, often through state student loan authorities.
 
Trump Scraps Obama Bathroom Policy for Transgender Students
Bloomberg
The Obama administration weighed in on the issue after North Carolina passed a law requiring people to use public restrooms consistent with their gender at birth. Similar legislation has been proposed in 14 other states this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Trump administration lifts federal transgender bathroom guidelines
Chicago Tribune
A patchwork of state laws could continue to emerge as a result of the change. Fifteen states have explicit protections for transgender students in their state laws, and many individual school districts in other states have adopted policies that cover such students on the basis of their gender identity, said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign. Just one state, North Carolina, has enacted a law restricting access to bathrooms in government-owned buildings to the sex that appears on a person's birth certificate. Lawmakers in more than 10 states are considering similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Helmets save lives so why don't all states require them?
Washington Post
Deborah A. P. Hersman, the council’s president and chief executive, traced the increase to the lack of mandatory helmet laws in the United States. The National Conference of State Legislatures  says that in states lacking a mandatory helmet law, 58 percent of motorcyclists killed in 2015 weren’t wearing helmets, compared to 8 percent in states with such laws. Hersman called on states to institute – or in some cases, reinstitute – laws that require all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet.

So far, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is just what her critics feared
Washington Post
There are now 17 states with programs that offer scholarship tax credits, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, including Florida, the state that DeVos has frequently mentioned as a model for the kind of reform she is seeking. 
 
McAuliffe vows vetoes as immigration issue heats up in Virginia
Washington Post
Virginia is one of 25 states considering legislation this year that would ban the practice of designating sanctuary cities, or places where undocumented people are protected from federal immigration enforcement. Eight other states, plus the District, are considering measures to support sanctuary cities, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. All told, more than 60 bills are pending nationwide on issues related to sanctuary cities or immigrant detention, according to NCSL data.
     
After Legalization, States Still Debate Gay Marriage
CBS Local
Thirty-one states had enacted laws banning same-sex marriage before the ruling, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Legislators in North Dakota and Virginia recently rejected a proposal to change state law to reflect the Supreme Court ruling. Similar attempts have been made in another eight states, the NCSL said last year.

Data: Percentage of women in NY Legislature is just above national ...
Albany Times Union
The percentage of women serving in the state Legislature has increased slightly over recent legislative sessions and is just above the national average, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Missouri bill would limit transgender school bathroom access
Missouri Lawyers Media
Missouri is one of 14 states where limits were proposed this year on restrooms, locker rooms and other places based on sex assigned at birth, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Measures have already failed in South Dakota and Virginia. Texas’ “bathroom bill” has prompted the NBA to warn that the state could be overlooked for future events.
 
Trump considers for transgender bathroom rules
Indiana Gazette
Fifteen states have explicit protections for transgender students, and many individual school districts in other states have adopted policies that recognize students on the basis of their gender identity, said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign. Just one state, North Carolina, has enacted a law restricting students’ bathroom access to their sex at birth. But so far this year, lawmakers in more than 10 states are considering similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.
     
The Trump Administration Is Set to Reverse Transgender Bathroom ...
Slate Magazine
Fifteen states have explicit protections for transgender students, and many individual school districts in other states have adopted policies that recognize students on the basis of their gender identity, Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) told The Associated Press. Just one state, North Carolina, has enacted a law restricting students' bathroom access to their sex at birth. But so far this year, lawmakers in more than 10 states are considering similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.
 
Louisiana makes it much too hard to recall a politician: Editorial
NOLA.com
Louisiana could either base the signature requirement on the number of voters who participated in the election of the official targeted for recall, as many states do.  Or, the Legislature could reduce the percentage of total registered voters, possibly to 15 percent, in more populated areas. Georgia and Montana use similar thresholds, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
     
Bathroom Bills Are Upending the Meetings Industry Across the US
Skift
Currently, North Carolina is the only state where a so-called “Bathroom Bill” has become law, but that may not be the case for long. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 12 states now have similar bills pending as of February 17.

Feb. 22

States that have gone decades without a lawmaker pay raise
Washington Post
(Cited Source) 
 
Lawmakers back off proposed ban of powdered alcohol
Madison.com
The federal government approved a powdered alcohol product called Palcohol in 2015. Palcohol comes in the form of freeze-dried alcohols and cocktails meant to be mixed with liquid. Since then, states have been scrambling to ban or regulate the products before they hit shelves. At least 25 states — including nearby Michigan, Illinois and Indiana — had banned the sale of powdered alcohol as of 2015, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
After legalization, states still debate gay marriage
The Sun Herald
Thirty-one states had enacted laws banning same-sex marriage before the ruling, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most remain on the books, however invalid. Legislators in North Dakota and Virginia recently rejected a proposal to change state law to reflect the Supreme Court ruling. Similar attempts have been made in another eight states, the NCSL said last year.
 
Cybersecurity a growing focus for Nevada
Las Vegas Review-Journal
In 2016, legislatures in 28 states considered different cybersecurity measures encompassing issues like security practices in government agencies, confidentiality of information, and cyber crimes, according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Fifteen of those states passed laws.
 
On Your Side Investigation: Are you being tracked?
WDAM-TV
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 12 states have laws specific to license plate readers, with some limiting the amount of time the data can be stored. Mississippi is not one of them.
 
Michigan 'smart meter' hearing elicits health fears
The Detroit News
Twenty-five states including Michigan have rules regulating how utilities use smart meters, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some states allow consumers to opt out and provide certain data privacy protections, but most let utility companies to install and operate the technology.
     
House lobbying ban extension cleared for floor
SaintPetersBlog
Thirty-four states in all have some lobbying ban on former state lawmakers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Aggressive anti-campus rape laws proposed for Texas colleges in ...
Dallas News
Suzanne Hultin, who tracks assault bills for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said this is the first she’s heard of a state wanting a fine or jail employees and students for not reporting. “This is the first I’ve seen in terms of bystander reporting,” Hultin Said. “This one definitely sticks out.” 
 
North Jersey man wins $100K online in 15 minutes (VIDEO)
NJ.com
New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada are the only three states that allow gambling. Seven states - California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington - have introduced bills to legalize online gaming, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Special ed profs speak out on DeVos confirmation
OSU - The Lantern
As of right now, 14 states, including Ohio, offer traditional voucher program options, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Advocates for the program say it gives parents the right to choose the best education for their child.
 
State considers boosting limits on donations to candidates
Hutchinson News
Kansas hasn't increased its contribution limits in nearly three decades, and both its $2,000 limit for candidates for governor and its $500 limit for state House candidates are well below the median for all 50 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Six states, including neighboring Missouri, have no contribution limits, according to the group.
 
Conference will explore fair school funding
SIU News
The conference will feature the following sessions: 8:45 a.m. -- Illinois K-12 Funding in Comparison to Other States -- Daniel Thatcher, program principal for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Thatcher tracks statewide education finance developments and Common Core State Standards implementation and legislation.
 
Same-Sex Marriage Laws May Reduce Teen Suicide Attempts by ...
Seeker
But in the years leading up to that decision, state legislatures passed same-sex marriage laws in 11 states while judicial decisions established it as legal in another 25 states, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures (NCSL).

Feb. 21

California Senate leader's new bill: 100% clean energy
The Desert Sun
So far only one U.S. state, Hawaii, has a law requiring 100 percent renewable energy, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Hawaii has also set a deadline of 2045.

‘You and your family are fired ... Love you’: Dozens lose jobs over immigrant protest
Sacramento Bee
All five states, like the vast majority of states in the U.S., recognize at-will employment, which means employers can fire workers at any time without advance notice for any reason. While South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and Tennessee all recognize some exceptions to this doctrine, Florida does not, per the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Proposal: Regulate powdered alcohol like liquid alcohol
Miami Herald
At least 25 states — including neighboring Michigan, Illinois and Indiana — had banned the sale of powdered alcohol as of 2015, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Minimum wage bill sparks debate in Nevada Legislature — POLL
Las Vegas Review-Journal
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 33 jurisdictions are considering increasing the minimum wage in 2017.

New Jersey Lawmakers Want to Pressure President Trump on Tax ...
NBC 10 Philadelphia
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have proposed bills aimed at preventing access to the presidential ballot without disclosing federal tax returns, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures and an Associated Press review of pending bills. The bills come at a time when Trump's job approval rating is low, but with Republicans in control of government in Washington and as out-of-power Democrats search for a way to push back.

Wisconsin has a chance to get into the race with autonomous vehicles
Madison.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, nine states as well as Washington D.C. have passed legislation related to autonomous vehicles. Two governors have issued executive orders.

Marijuana decriminalization hangs over Virginia governor's race
Virginian-Pilot
Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have done so, which typically involves eliminating jail time in favor of fines, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of them, eight have and the District have legalized small amounts of marijuana for use by adults.

Push for ride-share companies in Alaska hits speed bumps
Juneau Empire
Forty-three states have ride-share laws that are generally welcoming to the industry, said Doug Shinkle, transportation program director with the National Conference of State Legislatures. But he said states also are revisiting their laws and making tweaks based on experiences so far.

New anti-heroin bill could help locally
Shoshone News Press
The National Conference of State Legislatures said it tracked more than 500 state bills dealing with prescription drug abuse in 2016.

Progress report on North Carolina's drug testing for welfare law
WBTV
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 15 states have laws requiring drug testing for some forms of government assistance.

NJ joins states seeking to require presidential tax returns
Press of Atlantic City
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have proposed bills to prevent access to the presidential ballot without disclosing federal tax returns, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures and an Associated Press review of pending bills.

Sun sets on Wisconsin duo's plan to end daylight saving time
Madison.com
Some studies have questioned how much energy the time change actually saves, though, and still other studies show the change disrupts people's health and biological rhythms. Eight states are considering measures this year to make standard time permanent, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Jimmy Naifeh: Oklahoma cigarette tax proposal is bad public policy
Tulsa World
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures: “Cigarette taxes are not a stable source of revenue.” Why? Because cigarette excise tax increases usually yield lower-than-expected revenues.

Feb. 17

Republicans in the California Assembly propose bills they say will limit voter fraud
Los Angeles Times
A survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures found that 32 states had voter ID laws in place for last year's election. California's current law hinges on providing a signature to check voter identification at the polls.

Senate panel OKs marijuana research bill
Salt Lake Tribune
As of January, 28 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized medical marijuana in some way, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Iowa lawmaker wants to allow guns on college campuses
The Gazette: Eastern Iowa Breaking News
Eight states now have provisions allowing permitted individuals to carry concealed weapons on public, postsecondary campuses — Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Tennessee lets licensed faculty members carry weapons but not students or the public.

Correction: XGR--Death With Dignity Story
U.S. News & World Report
Five states — California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont and Washington — have laws to allow physician-assisted suicide, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Would raising lawmakers' pay help change who runs for office?
Charlotte Observer
The National Conference of State Legislatures features prominently on its website an article that says, in part: “Maintaining adequate legislative compensation promotes diversity among elected officials so the entire population is adequately represented. If pay is a significant barrier to public service, many potential candidates will not be able to serve in the legislature.”

Thursday round-up
SCOTUSblog
At the National Conference of State Legislatures’ blog, Lisa Soronen discusses District of Columbia v. Wesby, in which the court “will decide whether, when the owner of a vacant house informs police he has not authorized entry, an officer assessing probable cause to arrest those inside for trespassing may discredit the suspects’ claims of an innocent mental state.”

State bill to allow medical aid in dying moves forward
Maui News
Five states — California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont and Washington — have laws to allow physician-assisted suicide, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

New distracted-driving bill moves closer to a vote in Olympia
Q13 FOX
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures 14 states currently ban any hand-held cellphone use while driving in a car; however, 37 states and D.C. ban all cellphone use by beginner or teen drivers.

Nevada Lawmaker Seeks Ban on Human Microchips
Top Tech News
Wisconsin, North Dakota, California and Oklahoma subsequently enacted legislation banning any required implantations, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Bill of the Week: Voter Registration Made Easy?
Austin Chronicle
To date, 34 states offer the option, according to the National Con¬ference of State Legislators.

Feb. 16

Women reach new heights in state legislatures
The Hill
There are 1,830 women serving in state legislative bodies across the nation this year, according to statistics compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. That means women hold 24.8 percent of the 7,383 seats in the country’s 99 state legislative chambers.

Only two states have lower percentage of women in Legislature
Charleston Gazette-Mail
Wyoming and Oklahoma have a lower percentage, compared to West Virginia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The latest voter ID attempt in Maine appears doomed to fail
Bangor Daily News
The number of states with voter ID laws is growing. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 32 states require some level of identification to vote, ranging from requests or suggestions that voters provide a non-photo ID to strict photo ID requirements. 

Three Automakers and Lyft Ask Feds to Adopt National Standard for self-driving cars
Hybrid Cars News
Nine states – California, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia, along with Washington D.C. – have passed legislation related to autonomous vehicles, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The association also said that governors in Arizona and Massachusetts issued executive orders related to autonomous vehicles.

Part-time legislature concept arises again
Saipan Tribune
A part-time legislature will have lawmakers spending an average of half of a full-time job doing legislative work, according to the U.S. National Conference of State Legislature’s website.

More Women Than Ever Are Serving in State Legislatures, but Not ...
Broadly
According to figures released earlier this month from the National Conference of State Legislatures, approximately 1,830 women will serve in state legislatures this year. Of the 7,383 seats in the country's 99 state legislative chambers, women will hold a historic 24.8 percent.

Advocates demand New York lawmakers outlaw child marriage
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
According to data from the Tahirih Justice Center, a nonprofit that protects immigrant women and girls, and the National Conference of State Legislatures, North Carolina and Alaska also allow 14-year-olds to marry with parental and judicial consent. Twenty-seven states have no minimum age in state statutes, meaning children of any age could technically marry with court approval.

Q&A: NGA program director tells states to get back to basics on cyber
StateScoop
The National Conference of State Legislatures has a cybersecurity task force, for example. So they are working together on this. But this requires cooperation not only between the CIO and the chief information security officer community but also with the legislature. This is so CIOs and CISO can brief legislators on the threats they face, what is actually happening on state networks, and to make sure this is more of year-long conversation and not just based around the budgeting process.

New state school chiefs, legislative committee chairs face intense ...
Education Dive
Among state chiefs, 10 out of 51 have no classroom experience, 14 have been in office for one year or less, and another 22 have been in office for between one and two years, prompting the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Council of Chief State Schools Officers to hold Education Policy 101 sessions to get new leaders up to speed.

ND House approves addiction screening in public assistance program
Jamestown Sun
At least 15 states have passed legislation on drug testing or screening for those receiving or applying for public assistance, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Feb. 15

Advocates demand New York lawmakers outlaw child marriage
ABC News
According to data from the Tahirih Justice Center, a nonprofit that protects immigrant women and girls, and the National Conference of State Legislatures, North Carolina and Alaska also allow 14 year olds to marry with parental and judicial consent. Twenty-seven states have no minimum age in state statutes, meaning children of any age could technically marry with court approval.

ND House approves addiction screening in public assistance program
The Dickinson Press
At least 15 states have passed legislation on drug testing or screening for those receiving or applying for public assistance, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Democrats weigh party's direction after Sanders run
vtdigger.org
In just six states do Democrats control both the executive branch and the two legislative bodies, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In Vermont, the Legislature is true blue, but Republican Gov. Phil Scott has signaled he is willing to act as a check on liberal legislation, pledging to veto a paid family leave bill as well as any increases in taxes or fees.
 
Big utilities try to tilt solar energy market in their favor
Akron Legal News
The proposed Indiana law comes after a number of other states including Michigan, Illinois and Iowa have adopted policies that would phase out net metering at a gentler pace, according to advocates. In Maine, Republican Gov. Paul LePage last year vetoed a bill that would have overhauled the state's approach. Montana is also considering a range of bills that would alter its policy, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Imagine a World With an ESSA Statute—But No Accountability ...
Education Week
The National Conference of State Legislatures has announced its support for the House's move to overturn the teacher-preparation rules. But we haven't seen anything from NCSL regarding the accountability rules, one way or the other. 
     
Fee on fuel-efficient vehicles back on the table
Concord Monitor
New Hampshire is one of several states nationwide grappling with ways to make up declining gas tax revenue. At least nine other states already impose a fee on certain hybrid or electric vehicles, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.
 
Another Way Millennial Habits Differ? They Don't Play the Lottery
Associations Now
A recent report on gambling and tax revenue by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) notes that the problem isn’t unique to lotteries, but casinos as well. Simply, millennials are on the hunt for a different kind of challenge.
 
New governor, new momentum for Missouri charter school and ...
KBIA
Another issue in front of the Legislature is the creation of tax-free savings accounts — taxpayer money that parents could use to pay for private schools. Fourteen states have some form of a savings account for primary and secondary schools, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Bill would allow murder charges in heroin overdose deaths
KREM.com
The National Conference of State Legislatures says it tracked more than 500 state bills dealing with prescription drug abuse in 2016. The organization expects a similar number is expected this year.

Feb. 14

Nevada lawmaker seeks precautionary ban on human microchips
ABC News
Wisconsin, North Dakota, California and Oklahoma subsequently enacted legislation banning any required implantations, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Lt. Gov. Northam calls for decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana
The Daily Progress
Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia had decriminalized small amounts of marijuana as of November, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Last November, voters in California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada backed adult use of recreational marijuana, according to NCSL, bringing to eight the number of states that have done so, along with Washington, D.C.
 
NJ Dems want to push future presidents to do what Trump wouldn't: Release tax returns
Philly.com
As of Saturday, lawmakers in 17 states had introduced bills that would require presidential candidates to release federal tax returns to get their names on state ballots, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

White House withdraws Obama-era request in transgender student bathroom case 
Christian Science Monitor
The Trump administration’s step back from the debate comes as so-called “bathroom bills,” which typically restrict transgender people to using bathrooms that correspond with their sex at birth, have been filed in at least eight states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
     
New bill designed to combat heroin use introduced in Idaho
The Daily Progress
The National Conference of State Legislatures says it tracked more than 500 state bills dealing with prescription drug abuse in 2016. The organization expects a similar number is expected this year.
 
Tennessee Republicans denounce 'absurdity' of California travel ban
Chattanooga Times Free Press
It also would direct a certified copy of the resolution, once it passes in the Republican-controlled Tennessee General Assembly, be sent to an estimated 15,000 individual legislators across the nation as well as the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments and the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Feb. 13

Tapping Private Sector for Roads and Bridges Poses Hurdles for Trump
Bloomberg
At the same time, there’s little existing framework for deals with states and municipalities, which own much of the infrastructure and approve projects. Only 38 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have enacted legislation facilitating public-private partnerships for some infrastructure projects, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Car2Go and gone: Legislation aims to lure more car-sharing services to TC
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Other states, such as Colorado, have enacted similar laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And Portland, Ore. — a transit mecca — does not tax car sharing at all.
 
Schoolchildren urge Palm Beach County Commission to support plastic bag ban
Sun Sentinel
California has a statewide ban on plastic bags. Several cities across the country have also implemented bans, including Chicago and Seattle, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
She got a photo of her grandson tied up, demanding $1000, but she didn't pay up.
Modesto Bee
Alabama along with several other states have laws in place dedicated to prevent the financial exploitation of the elderly. While there is a lack of national statistics on financial elder abuse, it is widely believed to be an underreported crime, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In Alabama, extorting $1,000 from an elderly person is a Class C felony, but Kelley has not been charged with that crime.
 
Legislation To Require State Government To Negotiate Prescription Drug Prices
Los Alamos Daily Post
According to the National Council of State Legislatures, Maryland – one example among many – reported that its Medicaid program alone saved $19 million in 2006 because of its similar purchasing pool.
 
Rep. Julie Stokes running for Louisiana treasurer
NOLA.com
Stokes serves on the executive committee of the National Conference of State Legislators. This year, she was recognized by the Tax Foundation for her work on sales tax reform in Louisiana.
 
Mississippi lottery bill fails, but another could pop up
The Commercial Dispatch
The National Conference of State Legislatures says Mississippi is one of six states without a lottery. Several proposals to create the game of chance have died during the past two decades, usually with little or no debate in the Legislature.

Mohawk High School to do away with Native American mascot
The Register-Guard
While Marcola’s high school bears a tribe’s name — Mohawk — the Mohawk Tribe does not have Oregon ties. The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe originated in New York, according to a list of federally recognized tribes compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Distracted driving penalties could increase
Daily Record-News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures 14 states currently ban any hand-held cellphone use while driving in a car; however, 37 states and D.C. ban all cellphone use by beginner or teen drivers. Washington state bans all cellphone use for any learning or intermediate license holders. Forty six states prohibit texting messaging for all drivers.
 
State proposes free tuition, fees for 2-year plans
Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Tennessee first embraced the idea of free community college, an effort backed by Gov. Bill Haslam in the spring of 2014. The idea got another boost after then-President Barack Obama called for free college during his State of the Union address in 2015, said Dustin Weeden, a senior policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
New Mexico legislators seek economic boost through hemp
KRWG
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 30 states have passed statutes allowing cultivation of hemp for research and development, or commercial purposes.

Feb. 10

Public Universities Become Prime Targets for State Budget Cuts
Wall Street Journal
Dustin Weeden, a policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said until state economies rebound, public colleges and universities can expect minimal growth in state funding at best, or substantial cuts at worst.

These Duluth kids asked for school bus seat belts; St. Paul heard them
Minnesota Public Radio News
But momentum may be shifting in favor of the idea. Minnesota is one of 17 states where school bus seat belt bills have been introduced this year, according to Amanda Essex with the National Conference of State Legislatures. "Some states have pointed to the fatal crash in Tennessee in November of last year," she said, in which six grade school students died. The accident received a huge amount of national attention.
 
Editorial: End straight-ticket voting
Houston Chronicle
Our state is in the minority on this practice. Texas is one of only 10 states that allow voters to cast a one-punch straight-ticket ballot, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Special report: The man behind the fiscal fiasco in Illinois
STLtoday.com
Illinois is beyond broke. It is the first state in at least eight decades to go without an annual budget, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Its bond ratings, the lowest of any state, are near junk status. It is projected to have a budget deficit this fiscal year of $5.3 billion and owes vendors about $10.8 billion in unpaid bills.

Georgia Lawmakers Bring Back 'Campus Carry' Bill
AP
The National Conference of State Legislatures says Georgia is among the 17 states that ban concealed weapons on college campuses.
 
1 lottery bill remaining after 2 chances fizzle in House
AP
Mississippi is one of six states without a lottery, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Several proposals to create a lottery have died during the past two decades, usually with little or no debate in the Legislature. Bryant has been elected with the support of conservative religious groups that oppose the games of chance, but he said several months ago that he would be open to discussion about the issue.
 
Few Alabama students use choice given under Accountability Act
AL.com
Alabama is one of 17 states with a tax-credit scholarship program according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Program details vary from among states, but in Alabama, eligibility is determined by income and scholarships are distributed through non-profit scholarship granting organizations, or SGOs.
 
Big utilities try to tilt solar energy market in their favor
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Indiana is not the first state to take up an overhaul of the solar industry. Michigan, Illinois and Iowa have adopted policies that would phase out net metering at a gentler pace, according to advocates. In Maine, Republican Gov. Paul LePage last year vetoed a bill that would have overhauled the state's approach. Montana is also considering a range of bills that would alter its policy, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Finley: Lawmaker renews push for part-time Legislature
The Detroit News
Only nine states have full-time legislatures. Some very big states, including North Carolina, Virginia and Texas, manage to do their business with part-time lawmakers. Part-time bodies also employ fewer staffers, according to the National Council of State Legislatures, giving taxpayers some financial relief.

Feb. 9

Illinois Joins Push for Presidential Candidates' Tax Returns
Bloomberg BNA
An analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures found similar bills in several states. One or more tax return bills have been introduced in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia. Lawmakers in Maine and the District of Columbia have also announced plans to pursue tax disclosure legislation. 
 
US states see favorable conditions for gas tax hikes
Reuters
"As funds and their purchasing power have been depleted over the last few decades, states are coming to realize they have to raise revenues to maintain the transportation assets they have," Kevin Pula, a policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures, told Reuters.

Reduce Health-Care Costs, Small Businesses Tell Congress
Bloomberg BNA
The National Conference of State Legislatures report, Out-of-State Health Insurance - Allowing Purchases, is at http://src.bna.com/l3u.

The man behind the fiscal fiasco in Illinois
Reuters
Illinois is beyond broke. It is the first state in eight decades to go without an annual budget, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Its bond ratings, the lowest of any state, are near junk status. It is projected to have a budget deficit this fiscal year of $5.3 billion and owes vendors about $10.8 billion in unpaid bills.

Schenectady's new casino is part of a trend among states
Albany Times Union
And while New York may be late to the casino game (at least for those not operated by Native American tribes) the Empire State is not alone but is rather participating in a trend in which states nationwide are looking to casinos as a new source of revenue, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Thousands sign online petition to recall Toomey, ignoring that it's ...
PhillyVoice.com
The catch is that only a handful of states and Washington, D.C. allow for such a recall process, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Citizens United lawyer targets Texas campaign finance laws
LubbockOnline.com
Twenty-two states currently prohibit corporations from contributing money to campaigns and candidates, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
3 chances for lottery, but all could fizzle in House
The Commercial Dispatch
Mississippi is one of six states without a lottery, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Several proposals to create a lottery have died during the past two decades, usually with little or no debate in the Legislature. Bryant has been elected with the support of conservative religious groups that oppose the games of chance, but he said several months ago that he would be open to discussion about the issue.

Feb. 8

Citizens United Lawyer Targets Texas Campaign Finance Laws
ABC News
Twenty-two states currently prohibit corporations from contributing money to campaigns and candidates, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Texas has no limit on what individuals or political committees can donate to candidates. Corporations statewide, however, are barred from giving money directly to a campaign, though they are allowed to contribute to a political committee set up for a ballot measure or to a state-level Super PAC, which is only allowed to make expenditures independent of candidates.

States' ESSA Plans Now Entering the Legislative Phase
Education Week
The meaningful consultation clause is one both the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Governors Association pushed for after the battles over the Common Core State Standards led to many state politicians complaining that the standards were implemented without their knowledge.  

Can Unions Take Anti-DeVos Fervor, #ilovepublicschools Movement to States?
Education Week
The National Conference of State Legislatures told me that it's getting questions from states about ways to eradicate teacher tenure and dramatically reduce the amount of money spent on teacher pensions.  

Alabama term limit debate resurfaces in Montgomery, but what are its chances of passage?
AL.com
Studies have shown mixed outcomes from term limits on legislators. For example, a 2006 analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures suggested that term limits didn't bring new waves of women or minorities into office, but they did have the effect of concentrating power in executive hands.
 
Gov. Tom Wolf's state budget plan: 7 takeaways
Reading Eagle
Nineteen states began the new year with higher minimum wages, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Across the nation, 29 states and Washington, D.C. have a minimum wage above the federal minimum.

How an Obamacare repeal could put a damper on breastfeeding
mySanAntonio.com 
Before the Affordable Care Act, women in 28 states, including California, already had this guarantee, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The ACA made this requirement consistent nationwide, though state laws that offered greater protections were not preempted.

Slowing the revolving door
Post-Bulletin
Eight states — including Iowa — ban former lawmakers from lobbying legislators for two years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
The Fraught Path of Restaurants Trying to Provide Worker Healthcare
L.A. Weekly
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization that promotes policy communication between state legislatures, incomes in the United States are not keeping up with the rise in health plan costs.
 
Arizona lawmaker: Hemp-growing legislation 'about rope, not dope'
AZCentral.com
The states have established research or pilot programs, commercial programs and authorized studies, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nearly 10,000 acres of hemp were grown in 15 states last year, according to Vote Hemp.
 
ND proposal would limit who introduces bills
Jamestown Sun
Toman cited survey results from the National Conference of State Legislatures showing that, in 40 states, one or both legislative chambers ban non-legislators from directly introducing bills.
 
Claim that Missouri has a spending problem won't scour
Joplin Globe
And last year the National Conference on State Legislatures released a report showing Missouri ranked 44th in state spending per capita.

Feb. 7

Citizens United lawyer targets Texas campaign finance laws
McClatchy Washington Bureau
Twenty-two states currently prohibit corporations from contributing money to campaigns and candidates, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Gas pump advertising campaign targets Indiana fuel tax hike
AP
More than a dozen states — including several under GOP control — are debating some sort of a fuel tax increase to pay for infrastructure improvements. California, Indiana, Mississippi, New Mexico Oregon and Oklahoma, among others, have active bills that would change fuel taxation in an effort to raise more money, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A similar GOP-backed fuel tax increase went into effect in Michigan last month, increasing the cost of gas by 7 cents and diesel by 11 cents.
 
Push On To Collect Sales Tax Online
Arkansas Business Online
Nearly 20 state legislatures have bills pending that would require out-of-state online companies to collect and hand over sales taxes, said Max Behlke, director of budget and tax policy for the National Conference of State Legislatures in Washington. “Sales taxes are the second-largest revenue stream for states,” he said. “If they’re not able to collect all their dollars they’re owed, it puts them in a pinch.” And that money is needed. He said more than 30 states are facing budget shortfalls this year, with few options aside from slashing spending or raising taxes. “It’s a lot easier to collect dollars that you’re owed,” he said.

Teens should be allowed to get the tattoos they want
Reading Eagle
According to the website for the National Conference of State Legislatures, the state of Pennsylvania requires any teen under 18 getting a tattoo or body piercing to have the consent of their parent or guardian, and the parent or guardian must be present at the time of the procedure.

Sununu appoints judicial selection commission
Charlotte Observer
According to the National Conference on State Legislatures, 32 states require some or all of their judges to retire at a certain age. In November, Oregon voters rejected a measure to repeal their mandatory judicial retirement age.
 
Gas pump advertising campaign targets Indiana fuel tax hike
Journal Times
More than a dozen states — including several under GOP control — are debating some sort of a fuel tax increase to pay for infrastructure improvements. California, Indiana, Mississippi, New Mexico Oregon and Oklahoma, among others, have active bills that would change fuel taxation in an effort to raise more money, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Democrats push for medical marijuana after Vos says he's open to idea
Stevens Point Journal
Twenty-eight states and Washington, D.C. allow medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Among them are three of Wisconsin’s neighbors — Minnesota, Illinois and Michigan.
 
Nevada lawmakers ready for new session to start
Mohave Valley News
Nevada is among four states with the highest percentages of women legislators this year; women also hold 38-40 percent of statehouse seats in Arizona, Colorado and Vermont, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nationally, women comprise about 25 percent of all state legislatures.
 
In our opinion: Runoff bill is a reasonable compromise
Deseret News
Utah would become the 12th state to allow for runoff elections, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Two states, North Carolina and South Dakota, have laws that trigger runoffs if a candidate does not receive a certain percentage of the vote — 40 percent in North Carolina and 35 percent in South Dakota. 
 
Alaska Legislature funded lame-duck trips to Las Vegas and ...
Alaska Dispatch News
Participants were schooled on "successful negotiating strategies" and "the art of persuasion," as well as "current economic trends" at meetings organized by the National Conference of State Legislatures — a group partially funded with dues paid by the Alaska Legislature's budget.

Feb. 6

Companies Join Forces Against Social-Conservative Bills in the South
Wall Street Journal
So far this year, HRC said it has tallied at least 60 proposals it considers discriminatory in 19 states. The list includes bills addressing bathroom access, which the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures counts in at least 10 states.
 
In our opinion: Runoff bill is a reasonable compromise
Deseret News
Utah would become the 12th state to allow for runoff elections, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Two states, North Carolina and South Dakota, have laws that trigger runoffs if a candidate does not receive a certain percentage of the vote — 40 percent in North Carolina and 35 percent in South Dakota. While it would be preferable for candidates to be chosen with a majority of voter support, the reality is that in races with multiple candidates, that’s not always going to happen. Setting the bar at a level around a little more than a third of the total vote seems a reasonable compromise.
 
Lawmakers: This could be the year Texas bans texting while driving
mySanAntonio.com
Texas is among four states -- as well as Arizona, Missouri and Montana -- that don’t have statewide bans on texting while driving, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Resistance meets resistance as bills target demonstrators
Columbia Daily Tribune
Most states have laws restricting protests at funerals, after protests outside military services prompted outrage, and federal law and some states regulate protests near abortion clinics. But Jonathan Griffin of the National Conference of State Legislatures said he had not seen such a spate of bills addressing protests in general.
 
Groups say more women interested in running for office
Summit Daily News
Colorado has had neither a female governor nor a U.S. senator. But the state has more women in legislation than most. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 39 percent of Colorado’s legislators are women. Only Vermont, at 40 percent, has a higher percentage of women in the legislature.
 
Financial Crisis: At $85000 A Year, USVI Senators Earn More Than ...
VI Consortium
Below, the full list of U.S. state legislatures and their salaries, courtesy the National Conference of State Legislatures (2016).
 
Op-ed: Utah already has the best criteria for choosing judges
Salt Lake Tribune
"During my tenure as chief I have seized upon every opportunity to brag about our judges and our court system. I often make the case that we are the best judiciary in the country. I did this recently at our annual judicial conference, which was attended by the President of the National Center for State Courts, the sister organization to your National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Bill would change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day in ...
The Charlottesville Newsplex
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Alaska is one of four states considering such legislation this year.
 
Explained: Scott Walker's proposal to increase the Earned Income Tax Credit
Madison.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 26 states and the District of Columbia have their own earned income tax credits. Wisconsin's, like most other states', is based on the federal credit. Of those states, Wisconsin is the only one that doesn't offer its state credit to workers without qualifying children.
 
Bill would slap tax on online retailers
Indianapolis Business Journal
In fact, the National Conference of State Legislatures has estimated Indiana could be losing about $400 million annually.

Arkansas, Wyoming state houses approve campus carry bills
Guns.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least eight states allow for campus carry by those with permits while a ninth, Tennessee, allows only for armed faculty.

Pocatello native attends presidential inauguration
Idaho State Journal
The 19-year-old, who is interning at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Washington D.C., says she was just planning to get as close as she could to the event when she learned that her roommates had been able to get some extra tickets from their congressmen, allowing her to go officially.
 
Police, marijuana advocates debate legalization
Charleston Gazette-Mail
Four states approved recreational marijuana in 2016. Four states approved medical marijuana. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 28 states and the District of Columbia now have comprehensive medical marijuana laws, and eight states and D.C. have now legalized small amounts for adult recreational use.
 
Iowa senators seek to force businesses to crack down on illegal ...
Iowa City Press Citizen
By 2015, 22 states required at least some employers to use E-Verify, according to records kept by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nine states required all employers to use the program.
 
Be Patient. Pay Raises Are Coming.
BloombergQuint
Third, rising state minimum wages are increasing the overall income of the lowest economic strata. The National Conference of State Legislators reports that 19 states began 2017 with higher minimum wages:

Lawmakers vote to override Gov. Baker's veto of pay raises
Woburn Daily Times
Base pay for Massachusetts lawmakers was the seventh highest in the nation in 2016, according to a survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Drake: Don't be fooled by firearm lobby's “alternative facts”
Wyoming Tribune
The National Conference of State Legislatures said only eight states now allow concealed firearms on college campuses: Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.

Feb. 3

Bipartisan school bus bill would require all have safety restraint systems for kids by mid-2023
Chattanooga Times Free Press
California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Texas have varying existing school bus seat belt laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At least 17 states, including Tennessee, now have pending legislation regarding requiring them.

Lawmakers say this could be the year Texas bans texting while driving
Fort Worth Star Telegram
Texas is among four states — as well as Arizona, Missouri and Montana — that don’t have statewide bans on texting while driving, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Lawmakers vote to override Gov. Baker's veto of pay raises
The Daily Progress
Base pay for Massachusetts lawmakers was the seventh highest in the nation in 2016, according to a survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Democrat questions effectiveness of sexual harassment video for lawmakers
The Tennessean
"The video was recommended by (National Conference of State Legislatures), but it is not the only tool being used to address this issue," Owen said. "The new policy, which for the first time is accessible on the website, is an extremely important part of ensuring the Tennessee General Assembly is a workplace free of harassment or discrimination."
 
Savannah legislator brings comprehensive, LGBT-inclusive civil ...
The Georgia Voice
Georgia is one of five states that do not have public accommodation laws for non-disabled individuals, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Such laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion and background, and in a number of states, there are protections against discrimination based on age, sexual orientation and gender identity.
 
Across the Region: House reconsiders, passes Sunday shopping bill
Minnesota Lawyer
The National Conference of State Legislatures says about a dozen states have some form of Sunday sales laws. Only North Dakota prohibits shopping on Sunday morning.

GOP Idaho lawmakers push bill banning Islamic law in courts
Idaho Press-Tribune
Nine states — Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Tennessee — have enacted legislation on the application of foreign or religious laws in state courts, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures. Nine others have introduced such measures during legislative sessions this year, including nearby Montana and Oregon.
 
Arizona ranks among best in nation for female representation in ...
KTAR.com
A recent study from the National Conference of State Legislatures said, in 2017, 35 women will be part of Arizona’s legislature — 21 women in the House and 14 in the Senate.
  
Lottery bill clears Mississippi House panel, prospects dim
The Commercial Dispatch
Mississippi is one of six states without a lottery, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures

Wisconsin's opioid response anemic, critics say
Osceola Sun
The National Conference of State Legislatures says it tracked more than 500 state bills dealing with prescription drug abuse in 2016. Karmen Hanson, a program director at NCSL, says a similar number is expected this year.
 
Indiana Reworking Bill That Critics Say Would Bar Tesla
Manufacturing.net
Arizona, Maryland, Texas and Virginia have also passed laws to protect dealership franchises, according the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Transgender locker room bill withdrawn
Plainsman
South Dakota is among at least 11 states where similar bills had been pre-filed or introduced for the 2017 legislative session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Boy Scouts late to the game on transgender rights
The Oracle
Bathroom bills, which would require people to use the restroom that matches their birth certificate rather than how they identify, are currently up for debate in 12 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ website. 
 
Arizona bill would let city dwellers shoot snakes in yards
Jackson Hole News&Guide
The National Conference of State Legislatures said it does not track such legislation, so it’s unclear how many other states have similar laws.
 
Proposed Amazon sales tax bill advances in Ark. legislature
THV11.com
Lawmakers are hoping for potential revenue from Amazon to pay for more tax cuts in the next two years. The National Conference of State Legislatures estimated that states missed out on up to $23 billion in tax revenue from online and catalog sales in 2012.

Feb. 2

Idaho GOP pushes bill banning Islamic law in state courts
Washington Post
Nine states — Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Tennessee — have enacted legislation on the application of foreign or religious laws in state courts, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures. Nine others have introduced such measures during legislative sessions this year, including nearby Montana and Oregon.
 
10 more states will now collect sales taxes from Amazon shoppers
CNBC
States' coffers go wanting due to failures to collect levies from online purchases. The National Conference of State Legislatures estimated that states missed out on $23.3 billion in tax revenue in 2012.
 
Indiana reworking bill that critics say would bar Tesla
Washington Times
This is the third year in a row that the Indiana Legislature has considered a bill that would drive Tesla from the state unless it adopted the franchise model. If signed into law as-is, Indiana would join states including Michigan in banning direct sales. Arizona, Maryland, Texas and Virginia have also passed laws to protect dealership franchises, according the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Oklahoma lawmaker pushes good Samaritan law for overdose cases
NewsOK.com
Oklahoma is one of 13 states that has no good Samaritan law that provides immunity for certain drug-related crimes when a person calls 911 or seeks medical help for themselves or someone else, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Groups say more women interested in running for office
Albuquerque Journal
Colorado has had neither a female governor nor a U.S. senator. But the state has more women in legislation than most. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 39 percent of Colorado’s legislators are women. Only Vermont, at 40 percent, has a higher percentage of women in the legislature.
 
Transgender Americans rush to change IDs for President Trump era
fox6now.com
Barely a month into 2017, legislators in 10 states have pre-filed or introduced similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. The language of each piece of legislation differs, but Alabama’s bill goes further than any other state by outlining criminal and civil penalties for not complying with the law.
 
ND House committee gives thumbs down to $2 minimum wage ...
Prairie Business
Meanwhile, states and municipalities are taking up the issue themselves. Nineteen states began this year with a higher minimum wage, including South Dakota. Last year, California, the state of New York and Washington, D.C., passed measures for a $15 minimum wage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.   
 
North Dakota House committee gives thumbs down to $2 minimum ...
Bismarck Tribune
Meanwhile, states and municipalities are taking up the issue themselves. Nineteen states began this year with a higher minimum wage, including South Dakota. Last year, California, the state of New York and Washington, D.C., passed measures for a $15 minimum wage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Arkansas House OKs requiring voters to show IDs
Arkansas Online
A total of 34 states have laws requesting or requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Arkansas is included on that list because an identification is requested but not required.
 
Missouri lawmakers look to revive proposal on deported immigrants
Houston Herald
The proposal died in the House after passing the Senate when it was introduced last year, but Trump's election could add momentum to such efforts in Missouri and elsewhere. Missouri appears to be the first and only state to consider such a proposal, said Nick Bullock, spokesman for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Lottery Bill Clears Mississippi House Panel, Prospects Dim
Jackson Free Press
Mississippi is one of six states without a lottery, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Feb. 1

Hawaii measures aim to save 'best parts' of Obamacare
Fox News
Because of the rapidly shifting discussion in Washington, many state lawmakers around the country are grappling with what kind of bills to introduce to preserve parts of the Affordable Care Act, said Richard Cauchi, health program director at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
House OKs requiring voters to show IDs
Arkansas Online
A total of 34 states have laws requesting or requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Arkansas is included on that list because an identification is requested but not required. Seven states have "strict" photo-identification laws that require voters lacking valid identification to take additional steps after election day for their votes to be counted, according to the conference.
 
Tenn. governor seeks free community college for all adults
Minnesota Public Radio News
Along with Oregon and Minnesota, Tennessee is one of three states with free community college programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Kentucky approved a similar program last year; other states are considering their own plans.
 
Super Bowl LI to attract estimated $4.7B in bets
ESPN
The AGA, which represents the casino industry in Washington, D.C., is in the process of building a coalition to address PASPA and plans to eventually begin lobbying to lift the prohibition. The U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Conference of State Legislatures and law enforcement officials, including a former FBI deputy director, are part of the coalition. The AGA also has had recent discussions with broadcasters, advertisers and sports leagues about their efforts, in addition to interested parties on Capitol Hill.

$4.7 billion to be bet on Super Bowl - most wagers will be placed ...
cleveland.com
The National Council of State Legislatures and U.S. Conference of Mayors have urged regulation of sports betting. The association is leading the effort through the website SportsBettingInAmerica.com.
 
Transgender Americans rush to change IDs for Trump era
Siouxland Matters
Barely a month into 2017, legislators in 10 states have pre-filed or introduced similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. The language of each piece of legislation differs, but Alabama's bill goes further than any other state by outlining criminal and civil penalties for not complying with the law.
 
2017 likely to be the year of autonomous regulation
Commercial Carrier Journal
Currently, nine states plus Washington D.C. have some form of autonomous regulation on the books and that number is poised to grow. In the last four years, the National Conference of State Legislatures says more than 30 states have considered autonomous vehicle legislation.
 
Driverless Truck Rolls Past Drivers on Freeway
The National Law Review
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), ten states have passed legislation or issued executive orders regarding the use of autonomous technology on the roadways. In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) has committed nearly $4 billion toward development and adoption of safe vehicle automation.
 
North Dakota House fails to repeal Sunday shopping ban
Crookston Daily Times
The National Conference of State Legislatures says about a dozen states have some form of Sunday sales laws, but only North Dakota prohibits shopping on Sunday morning.
 
Arizona's legislature is almost 40 percent women, third highest in the ...
The State Press
Out of the 50 U.S. states, Arizona has the third highest number of female legislators at 35, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.