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NCSL in the News: January 2012

NCSL in the News Archives

NCSL in the News: January 2012

Jan 31

Colorado lawsuit challenges wisdom of ballot box
Of 2,363 state ballot initiatives since then, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only two — Oregon and California — have had more than Colorado, and those three states account more than 38 percent of the national total. The New York Times

Florida bill wants limit on what food stamp users can buy
In the last year, legislation seeking to restrict SNAP purchases was introduced in Illinois, Oregon, California, Vermont and Texas, though none was successful, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. WAPT Jackson, Florida

Arizona lawmaker proposes new version of bill to allow guns on college, university campuses
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 22 sttes ban carrying a concealed weapon on higher-education campuses and 25 leave the decision of whether to ban or allow carrying concealed weapons on campuses up to individual institutions. AP in The Republic

Virginia approves bill to provide insurance coverage for autistic children - again
Thirty-four states and the District have laws related to autism and insurance, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At least 29 states require insurance coverage for autism treatment. Others require at least limited coverage. Staunton News Leader

Birth control costs to be paid by employer
Currently, 26 states, Indiana excluded, require employers to cover contraceptives approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures website. Indiana Daily Student

States grapple with public worker pension funds
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 29 state legislatures enacted significant retirement system changes in 2011, and other states revisited the topic. In total, 41 states enacted significant revisions to at least one state retirement plan in 2010 or 2011. The Epoch Times

AVMA backs legislation forcing online sellers to remit sales taxes
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that this year, $23 billion in state taxes will go uncollected on online purchases. VIN News Service

Colorado lawmaker suspected of DUI says she didn't invoke "Legislative Immunity"
"The question is when does this apply," said Brenda Erickson, senior research analyst with Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. KUNC

Obama’s call for school until 18: Easier said than done
Indeed, 20 states and the District of Columbia have requirements in place mandating that students remain in school until they reach age 18. In 18 states, the mandated age is 16 and in another 11 states the age is 17, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (Most countries in Europe require students to attend school until age 16). BET

Jan 30

Editorial: Online sales should not escape tax
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Minnesota is losing $455 million in fiscal 2012 in owed-but-uncollected tax on online purchases. Minneapolis Star Tribune

Food stamp bills seek to restrict junk food
In the last year, legislation seeking to restrict SNAP purchases was introduced in Illinois, Oregon, California, Vermont and Texas, though none was successful, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Los Angeles Times

Same-sex marriage debate flares up in New Jersey
With Hawaii and Delaware joining the list earlier this month, five other states now recognize civil unions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. CNN

Voter ID a hot topic in state legislatures
Last year, voter ID bills were introduced in 34 states, leading the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) to declare that “voter ID was the hottest topic of legislation in the field of elections in 2011.” Independent Voter Network

Nixon taking a cautious approach
Fifteen states have passed legislation creating an exchange or signaling their intent to do so; 12 others have exchange bills in the works or are formally studying their options, according the National Conference of State Legislatures. Springfield News-Leader

Oklahoma's low liability cap leaves some victims holding the bag
Florida was the only state to raise its liability limit last year, according to a survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Florida limit was raised to $200,000 per claim and $300,000 per incident. Tulsa World

Schultz hopes to blunt voter ID plan criticism
According the National Conference of State Legislatures, there have been nearly 1,000 voter identification bills introduced in 46 states since 2001, and the group said it was the hottest topic in election law in 2011 with legislation being introduced in 34 states, including Iowa. Mason City Globe Gazette

Answering Obama's dropout challenge
Every state requires children to enroll in public or private schools or to be home-schooled, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Omaha World-Herald

State's lawsuit over voter ID could cost more than $1 million
South Carolina is among eight states that have passed strict laws requiring voters to show photo identification to cast ballots in person, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a group that tracks state laws. Charleston Post Courier

Brown sells taxes to voters suspicious of spending
After four consecutive years of tax revenue failing to keep pace with spending commitments, most states are seeing a gradual turnaround as tax revenue stabilizes, said Arturo Perez, a budget analyst for the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. San Jose Mercury News

Despite new law, families wait for autism coverage
Thirty-four states have laws related to autism and insurance, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At least 29 states require insurance coverage for autism treatment. Others require at least limited coverage. Staunton News Leader

Raising the dropout age
States are aligning their policies with the recommendations from the National Conference of State Legislatures Task Force on School Dropout Prevention and Recovery and the Civic Marshall Plan to Build a Grad Nation. Huffington Post

Early and absentee voting enhances clout of older voters
“By making voting more convenient, perhaps people are more likely to vote,” says Jennie Bowser, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures. But if you vote really early,  she points out, “you might wind up changing your mind before Election Day arrives.” AARP Blog

Jan 27

As WV's teen pregnancy rate goes up, lawmakers try to develop plan to address the issue
Teen pregnancy has a huge impact on the state's taxpayers, according to Megan Forman of the National Conference of State Legislatures. According to her study, West Virginia taxpayers pay about $67 million in Medicaid and other health care costs, and 25 percent of teen moms go on welfare within three years of their child's birth.  "There are most definitely linkages to the state's work force and their lifetime earning potential and state tax revenue," Foreman said.  State Journal

Gender gap in Capitol growing
Katie Ziegler, program manager of the National Conference of State Legislatures Women's Legislative Network, said studies and anecdotal evidence show that family and domestic concerns and other barriers have made increasing the number of women in office a challenge across the country.  "That is something that I certainly see it as something that is harder to solve," she said.  Sacramento Bee

Iowa Secretary of State proposes voter identification plan
If the measure passes, Iowa would join 31 other states that have some type of voter identification requirement, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Fifteen of those states require photo identification or will by the 2012 general election.  Quad City Times

Early and absentee voting enhances clout of older voters
“By making voting more convenient, perhaps people are more likely to vote,” says Jennie Bowser, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures. But if you vote really early,  she points out, “you might wind up changing your mind before Election Day arrives.”  AARP News

New rules to know before heading to the polls
Wisconsin’s new Voter ID law, which the National Conference of State Legislatures cites as one of the most strict in the nation, will have an impact on all citizens of voting age in our state.  Opinion in the Superior Telegram

Doctors renew push to ban teens from tanning beds
North Carolina currently requires parental permission for children ages 13 to 18 to visit tanning salons and is among at least 31 states to regulate tanning bed use among minors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ website, which also reported that California forbids all minors from using tanning beds.  Lumina News

Jan 26

Penn State scandal prompts spate of child sex laws
At least 12 states, including California, are considering mandatory reporting legislation this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and more are expected to craft bills as their sessions get into full swing.  San Francisco Chronicle (AP)

Obama wades into issue of raising dropout age
“Efforts to raise the age usually come up against the argument that requiring students to stay in school when they no longer want to be there is disruptive to other students and not fair to the teacher,” said Sunny Deye of the National Conference of State Legislatures. “Home-school groups often oppose raising the compulsory attendance age, and especially now, in this budget crunch, there are major concerns about the fiscal impact.”  New York Times

Annual legislative session getting yet another look in Nevada
“I’m a legislative junkie,” said Karl Kurtz, director of the Trust for Representative Democracy, part of the National Conference of State Legislatures, “And this committee is legislative junkie heaven.”  Las Vegas Sun

What the Tax Foundation rankings don’t say about business taxes in North Carolina
For instance, the Tax Foundation admits that the a “dominant factor vaulting many” states to the top of their ranking system is the absence of a major tax. Yet the National Conference of State Legislatures lists among its core revenue principles that “a high-quality revenue system relies on a balanced variety of revenue sources.”  The Progressive Pulse

Democrats file suit over paycheck cut-off
The length of legislative sessions around the country varies, but the National Conference of State Legislatures says eight other states, including New York, are essentially full-time.  KABC 790

Are states willing to require school attendance until age 18?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 states and the District of Columbia already have that requirement in place. In 11 states, the mandated age is 17; in 18 states, it is 16. NCSL noted, though, that almost every state law has exceptions for physical and mental conditions or parental permission in order to drop out.  Governing (blog)

State lawmakers to debate tuition prices for illegal immigrants
Thirteen states -- including Texas, California, Illinois and Connecticut -- have passed legislation granting in-state tuition to illegal immigrant students, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  KMGH Denver

Jan 25

Kan. lawmakers consider new fee for electric cars
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, lawmakers in Arizona, Mississippi, Oregon and Washington considered proposals to impose new fees for electronic cars, and Texas considered starting a pilot program.  CBS News (AP)

Voter ID laws: Texas accuses Justice Department of slow-walking approval
In the U.S., eight states have strict photo ID laws like Texas', according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Voters would need to show a government-issued photo ID or meet requirements for a free "election identification certificate."  International Business Times

Haslam, Ramsey: Raising gas tax is wrong answer for highway funding
Virginia, with a 17.5 cent per gallon state gas tax, does a combination of bonding and pay-as-you-go financing, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  NCSL said America’s states, with many facing budget shortfalls, have little capacity to pay for needed road maintenance and expansion.  Kingsport Times News

Marshall opposes light bulb ban
Seven other states have legislation pending to deal with the issue, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and a Texas law took effect this month stating incandescent bulbs manufactured in the state are not subject to federal law or regulations.  Staunton News Leader

Peggy Welch seeking re-election to District 60 seat
Welch is active in national legislative groups, including the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan association of legislators.  Herald-Times

Eddie Lucio says Texas does not regulate the appearance of some kinds of imitation firearms sold in Texas
Meagan Dorsch, a spokeswoman for the National Conference of State Legislatures, sent us the organization’s July 2011 list showing states with imitation firearm statutes:  Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee and Wisconsin.  PolitiFact

Jan 24

CU regents could back in-state tuition for undocumented students
A dozen states -- including neighboring Nebraska and New Mexico -- have laws allowing undocumented students who meet specific requirements to receive in-state tuition rates at public colleges, according to an analysis from the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Boulder Daily Camera

South Carolina tries to break political "old boys network"
While Republican Nikki Haley became the first woman governor of South Carolina in 2010, the state ranks last in the nation with only 9.4 percent women in the state legislature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Chicago Tribune (Reuters)

Some consider part-time State Legislature
The length of Legislative sessions around the country vary, but the National Conference of State Legislatures says eight other states, including New York, are essentially full-time.  ABC30

States waiting on SCOTUS could hamper exchanges
States still on the fence are likely to decide in the next couple of weeks whether they will push forward on a state-based exchange this year or else yield at least partial control to the government, said Joy Wilson, health policy director for the National Conference of State Legislatures.  “We’ll have a much better idea of how the 50 states look in about two weeks,” Wilson said in a recent interview. “In this election year, my sense is they’re going to figure out whether they have the political support to go forward pretty soon and move on, one way or another.”  Politico

Resolution repealing health care causes ill feelings
Colorado is the first state to pass a resolution calling for an actual constitutional convention to amend the U.S. Constitution to repeal federal health reform. The Texas legislature introduced a similar resolution, but no action has been taken yet on that proposal, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures.  Colorado Statesman

Rick Santorum’s debate attacks against Mitt Romney
But 2010 data from the National Conference of State Legislatures shows that Massachusetts trails a handful of states and the District of Columbia in terms of highest premiums for single and family coverage.  Washington Post

Jan 23

Lawmaker opposing light bulb ban in Virginia
Seven other states have legislation pending to deal with the issue, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and a Texas law took effect this month stating that incandescent bulbs manufactured in the state are not subject to federal law or regulations.  Virginian-Pilot and the Washington Post (AP)

Think Hawaii's tough on ethics? Try Iowa
"They're called 'zero tolerance' or 'no cup of coffee' states," said Natalie O'Donnell Wood of the National Conference of State Legislatures. "Iowa has a $3 dollar per day allowance for gifts of food and beverage. It's very, very low. But it is a monetary threshold state. If not for that, it would be pretty much zero tolerance. California has a limit of $10 dollars per day."  Honolulu Civil Beat

State support for colleges falls 7.6% in 2012 fiscal year
California is also one of just a handful of states that are still trying to close midyear budget gaps, according to a December report from the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Chronicle of Higher Education

State to weigh school carbon monoxide detectors
Connecticut is the only state that currently requires carbon monoxide detectors in schools, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The law went into effect in July 2011 following a leak at an elementary school in which 30 students experienced symptoms.  Southern Maryland News

Lawmakers: Time right to revisit pay raise
Only six states pay their legislators less than Nebraska, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.  One of those states, New Mexico, pays no salary, only a $153 per-diem stipend when lawmakers meet. California has the highest salaries, $95,290 a year.  Omaha World-Herald

Living with no insurance coverage for autism
Thirty-four states and the District have laws related to autism and insurance, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At least 29 states require insurance coverage for autism treatment.  Washington Post

Repeal of legislative immunity proposed in Ariz. in wake of lawmaker’s domestic violence case
The National Conference of State Legislatures says most states have similar legislative immunity provisions in their constitutions. Members of Congress technically have the protection as well, but it has been so narrowly interpreted by the courts that U.S. lawmakers gain no real benefit from it.  Washington Post and Seattle Post Intelligencer (AP)

Right-to-work about-face
According to a blog run by the National Conference of State Legislatures, in most states a legislative quorum to do business constitutes a simple majority of the members – making a minority party walkout inconsequential.  Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

Parents take on officials: Vaccinations subject of heated debate
Currently, West Virginia is one of two states that doesn't allow these types of exemptions; the other is Mississippi, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Wheeling Intelligencer

Georgia group uses claim to back up pay-to-play proposal
Natalie Wood, an official with the National Conference of State Legislatures, published a study of pay-to-play laws for her organization in 2009. Her report concluded that there were nine states with comprehensive pay-to-play laws.  PolitiFact

It's climate change, stupid
A 2008 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Center for Integrative Environmental Research at the University of Maryland calculated that an additional 5 percent in crop losses due to climate change would mean nearly $110 million in direct and indirect economic losses in Georgia annually.  Opinion in the Huffington Post

Jan 20

Immigration conference deals with the tough questions
In 2011, more than 1,600 bills and resolutions addressing immigration and refugees were introduced, and as of early December, 197 laws were enacted, 109 new resolutions were adopted, and 15 bills were vetoed, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures website. In 2005 there were 300 bills introduced, 39 laws enacted and six vetoed. National Catholic Reporter

Top issues for 2012, library user fees and charging for school buses
The National Conference of State Legislatures has taken a good look at the legislative agendas of the states and come up with a list of 12 items that are likely to be important topics in 2012. Governing

State legislatures urge Congress, Obama to 'go big' on deficit reduction
In a letter sent to congressional leaders and President Obama, the heads of the National Conference of State Legislatures argued the country needs to restore its fiscal well-being. GovExec.com

State of the Union address: Tracking the business impact
Don’t forget to take a good look at state spending plans for 2012 too; organizations like the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Pew Center for the States are good go-to sources for analysis and round-ups of state revenue and spending issues. Reynolds Center

Advertiser editorial: Give voters 'recall'
Most states allow recall for some local elected officials, and 19 states allow it for various state officials, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. (Illinois only allows it for the office of governor.) Montgomery Advertiser

Consumers union: Consumers don't know much
Friedholm, the Austin, Texas-based health care reform director at Consumers Union, talked about health exchange enrollment assistance features in November 2011 at a health reform implementation conference organized by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Denver. LifeHealthPro

Trans fat ban proposed for Colorado schools
Neither Guzman nor Massey say they’ve seen any organized opposition to the proposal so far, but the track record for such legislation is not encouraging. Six other states last year considered but did not approve school trans fat bans, according to a recent report by the Associated Press, citing the National Conference of State Legislatures. MSNBC

Legislative session lengths
The National Conference of State Legislatures asserts that members receives $141.86 each day they are in session to cover housing and meal costs in Sacramento. Each California legislator collects a $95,290.56 annual salary. PublicCEO.com

Roundup: state lawmakers urge deficit reduction
On Wednesday, the National Conference of State Legislatures, which represents lawmakers from across the country, sent President Barack Obama, Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a letter urging them to "examine all possible avenues for deficit reduction, including discretionary spending, entitlement reform and revenue-related options. ..." Kaiser Health News

Jan 19

Indiana Republicans fine Democrats for stalling bill
Bills related to right-to-work rules have been introduced or have carried over from last session in at least 15 other states, including Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maine, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Wall Street Journal

States once again worried about budget fights
On Wednesday, the National Conference of State Legislatures, which represents lawmakers from across the country, sent President Barack Obama, Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a letter urging them to "examine all possible avenues for deficit reduction, including discretionary spending, entitlement reform and revenue-related options. Reuters

Mayors: Congress is failing cities
That sets it apart from the National Conference of State Legislatures, which currently counts more Republicans among its members. While the mayors pressed Washington, D.C., for more investment, the NCSL released a letter urging the president to “go big” in cuts to next year’s budget. Roll Call

Illegal immigrant tuition debated again in Colo.
Thirteen states — including Texas, California, Illinois and Connecticut — have passed legislation granting in-state tuition for immigrant students, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP in Houston Chronicle

Quorum-busting
According to a blog run by the National Conference of State Legislatures, in most states a legislative quorum to do business constitutes a simple majority of the members - making a minority party walkout inconsequential. Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

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

Bill would kick trans fats out of Colorado schools
Six other states last year considered but did not approve school trans-fats bans, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Already this year, Indiana and New York state are considering school trans-fats bans similar to the Colorado proposal, according to the NCSL. Denver Post

Indiana House fines absent Democrats $1,000 a day
The National Conference of State Legislatures has no record of other states imposing fines to compel a legislative quorum. Stateline.org

Changing moratorium not in public's interest
Eight states, including Colorado and Florida, require a two-year break, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Arizona Republic

More on the D.C. corporate giving initiative
For the record, 14 states treat corporate donations differently than union donations, according to data maintained by the National Conference of State Legislatures. In Iowa, for instance, direct corporate donations are prohibited but unions can give without restriction. Washington Post

Proposed bill would ban photo traffic tickets in Colorado
More than 400 U.S. communities use red-light cameras, and more than 40 communities nationwide use cameras to enforce speed laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Denver Post

Jan 18

Ballot initiative would ban corporate donations in D.C. political campaigns
Corporate contributions to federal campaigns, however, have been banned since 1907; 21 states also ban corporate giving to local campaigns, according to data collected by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Washington Post

Bill would add Virginia to health care opponents
Between January and November of last year, 45 states had more than 200 measures filed opposing elements of health care reform or approving alternative policies, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Washington Times

Trans fat ban proposed for Colorado school cafeterias
Six other states last year considered but did not approve school trans fats bans, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Coloradoan

Analysis: Gov. Cuomo's budget to be a tough act
While most states report slow fiscal improvement, New York is among just four states — California, Missouri and Washington are the others — that reported a budget gap halfway through their 2011-12 budget year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). PallTimes.com

Exclusive interview: Obama’s Democratic challenger on the issues
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Perry closed his state’s $6.6 billion deficit in fiscal years 2010-2011 with $6.4 billion in Recovery Act money, thereby avoiding having to dip into his state’s $9 billion “rainy day” fund to meet the state’s obligations. Uncovered Politics

Proposed bill would ban photo traffic tickets in Colorado
More than 400 U.S. communities use red-light cameras, and more than 40 communities nationwide use cameras to enforce speed laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Denver Post

Indiana lawmakers look for ethics exemptions
The National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Conference of Insurance Legislators, Women in Government, the Council of State Governments and the National Black Caucus of State Legislators. Evening News and Tribune

New OSBI instrument detects 'spice'
Initially created for research related to treatment of pain and the effects of cannabis on the brain, synthetic cannabinoids are chemically engineered substances (spice, “K2,” “Genie”) similar to THC, according to background from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Edmond Sun

Lt. Gov. enters federal health care constitutional challenge
Kansas is one of 45 states that either is challenging the federal health plan in court, has passed legislation to restrict its application within their borders, or done both, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. KansasReporter

Illegal immigrant tuition debated again in Colo.
Thirteen states — including Texas, California, Illinois and Connecticut — have passed legislation granting in-state tuition for immigrant students, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. NECN

Opinion: States created their public pension problems, and states should solve them
Besides, data from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) show that federal action does not appear to be necessary. Heritage.org

Legislation would raise the age at which students must be enrolled in school
According to a National Conference of State Legislatures report, Delaware lags behind surrounding states for average graduation rate for the 2007-08 school year. WGMD Radio

Md. to weigh requiring carbon monoxide detectors in schools
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Connecticut is the only state that currently requires carbon monoxide detectors in schools. Southern Maryland Online

Senator Pendleton attends SARL conference
SARL works collaboratively with the Council of State Governments and the National Conference of State Legislatures to host this annual Summit which addresses the critical issues and challenges that agriculture and rural communities face. SurfKY News

Jan 17

Tallahassee battle lines drawn over internet sales tax
According to an estimate by the National Conference of State Legislatures, Florida is projected to lose more than $1.4 billion in revenue in 2012 due to the online sales tax loophole. Miami Herald

Certificate of need debated: New laws could streamline approval of hospital renovations, expansions
About 36 states had certificate of need laws as of Dec. 2009, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Daily Tar Heel

Battle brewing over GOP push to require photo IDs
Of the 31 states that now require voters to show some form of identification at the polls, eight have what the National Conference of State Legislatures deems "strict photo ID" standards, a significant increase from the two states with such policies at the beginning of 2011. Virginian-Pilot

The new normal: annual library budgets survey 2012
In addition, a December 1 survey of state legislative fiscal officers by the National Conference of State Legislatures found that revenue performance has improved, expenditures in most states are stable, and few states are reporting budget gaps in the early months of FY12. Library Journal

School vouchers top education reform talks
According to The Advocate, a recent National Conference of State Legislatures report reveals that Louisiana is one of only four states (Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio) to offer vouchers, also noting that similar laws in other states have been struck down by the courts. The INDsider

Jan 16

Former state Senate President Sammy Nunez dead at 81
He also served as president of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Times Picayune

Casinos no cure-all for state budgets, economists say
Apart from Indian tribal casinos, 23 states allow some form of casino gambling, including all of Kentucky's neighbors other than Tennessee and Virginia. The states' tax rates on casino revenues range from 7 percent to 50 percent. Each state also gets different sums from casino license fees.
Most of the remaining states are discussing whether to expand gambling within their borders, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. Herald Leader, KY

Mayoral school takeovers face a rough road
Mayoral school takeover plans have passed in some cities, mostly in the 1990s. Boston, Chicago, Cleveland and Baltimore are examples. Philadelphia and Indianapolis enacted forms of mayoral school oversight in the early 2000s, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Kansas City Star

Recovering economy helps stabilize budget
There’s still concern about the economy and the federal government’s ability to fund some state-level programs. The National Conference of State Legislatures is telling states to brace for reductions in federal money in some program areas. Soo Evening News

Former La. Senate President Sammy Nunez, influential Democrat and Edwards ally, dies at 81
His accomplishments went beyond state lines, she said, and the National Conference of State Legislatures that he once headed. The AP in The Republic

Cameras could get red light
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, nine states have passed laws banning the use of photo traffic enforcement, including Arkansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The Coloradoan

In Vermont, some see one-party rule hurting separation of executive, legislative powers
Vermont is one of 33 states with one-party rule, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Republicans control both chambers of the legislatures and the governors' offices in 22, Democrats in 11. The AP in The Republic

Cobb Democrats take aim at voter identification law
Seven other states — including Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan and South Dakota — request photo IDs but do not require them. And sixteen states now require identification to vote, but not necessarily photo IDs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Marietta Daily Journal

Ozarks Minutemen fear Springfield will become 'sanctuary' for illegal immigrants
Lawmakers in 10 states adopted laws or issued executive orders in 2011 requiring E-Verify to be used by at least some employers, bringing the total nationwide to 17, according to a November report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. News Leader

EDITORIAL: Alabama's broken budgets
Alabama earmarks 84 percent of its tax revenue for specific purposes, more than any other state. Michigan is second highest in earmarking at 63 percent, according to a study by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Editorial in the Huntsville Times

Analysis: Gov. Cuomo's budget to be a tough act
While most states report slow fiscal improvement, New York is among just four states — California, Missouri and Washington are the others — that reported a budget gap halfway through their 2011-12 budget year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most states expect to meet or exceed their revenue targets, according to the NCSL's mid-year report,
with New York and Delaware missing even a reduced projection for corporate income tax collections. New York's revenue outlook was lowered for the remainder of 2012 "to meet lower expectations," the NCSL report stated. The AP in The Wall Street Journal

Deal targets energy tax
Only 14 states still tack sales tax onto the utility bills of manufacturing plants, according to the Nation­al Conference of State Legis­la­tures. The four other Southern states that still use the tax – Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee – either give reduced rates or offer exemptions for specific industries or fuel types. Augusta Chronicle

School voucher program gets fresh look in Louisiana
In 2011, more than 30 states introduced bills that would use taxpayer dollars to send children to privately run schools, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Times Picayune

North Dakota, Minnesota not complying with sex offender law
Susan Frederick, senior federal affairs counsel at the National Conference of State Legislatures, expects states to keep pressing Congress for more discretion about which offenders to place on the national registry and for how long. In Forum

Group discriminated in same sex civil union, judge says
Five other states allow civil unions, which provide state-level spousal rights to same-sex couples: Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey and Rhode Island, according to the National Council of State Legislators [sic] website. Reuters

In ethics tit-for-tat, Denney blasts Idaho Democrats for damaging cooperation
Democratic lawmakers have made creating an independent panel to review complaints against lawmakers or state officials a top 2012 priority. Forty-one states have such commissions,
according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Republic

Is the S.C. primary at risk of voter fraud?
Currently, 31 states require that voters provide some form of identification when voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Patch.com

State lawmakers consider ban of red-light cameras
Nine states have passed laws banning the use of photo traffic enforcement, including Arkansas, Montana, New Jersey and Wisconsin, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. NCSL said that more than 400 communities in the country use red-light cameras. KMGH - Denver

Recovering economy helps stabilize Michigan budget
The National Conference of State Legislatures is telling states to brace for reductions in federal money in some program areas. Bloomberg

Jan 13

States without voter ID law
Thirty-one states require voters to show identification before voting at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And in 15 of those states, the ID must include a photo of the voter. Patch.com

Political battle brewing over new voter ID laws
Graphic in story attributed to NCSL. NPR

Governor Hickenlooper pushes for civil unions during speech
Six states currently recognize same-sex marriage according to the National Conference of State Legislatures [sic]. 9News

Jamestown Sen. David Nething, longest-serving ND state lawmaker, retiring
He has been president of the National Conference of State Legislatures, which is a national group that represents state lawmakers. The Republic

McKenna's lack of action has allowed lawsuit payouts to increase again
This is a standard that the National Conference of State Legislatures rates as conservative. News Tribune

Rethink process for families in crisis
The National Conference of State Legislatures has made a number of recommendations for legislative action to safely reduce out-of-home placements and length of foster care stays, to reduce racial and ethnic disproportionality and disparate outcomes for children of color in foster care. Gazette

Great ideas for senior-friendly communities
Late last year, AARP commissioned the National Conference of State Legislatures [sic] to survey state-level, aging-in-place efforts throughout the country. The report identified programs broken into three major areas: land use, transportation, and housing. US News and World Report

Jamestown Senator David Nething will not run for re-election
I was president of the National Conference of State Legislators (and visited the White House so often) they would say, 'Oh, Dave, you're back in town again.'  I mean, how many times will that happen to a high school drop-out from Pingree?" KSJBAM

Jan. 12

Idaho readies for health exchange
Others got hung up on conflict-of-interest concerns and whether the exchange should be an agency or a nonprofit and who would govern it and how to pay for it, said Joy Johnson Wilson, health policy director for the National Conference of State Legislatures.  “Some of the states that have filed on the (Supreme Court) case said, ‘It seems like we shouldn’t be moving forward on the exchange if we’re part of the suit,’” she said.  Idaho Statesman

White House to get new Intergovernmental Affairs director
Michael Bird, federal affairs counsel at the National Conference of State Legislatures, tells Governing that the move is likely good news for state and local governments. They'll benefit by having someone who is familiar with their issues shaping domestic policy, he says.  Governing

Tri-Cities pushing for 'challenge grants' to advance road projects
At the national level, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) says years of under-investment coupled with declining revenues and a “no new taxes” attitude have resulted in a transportation crisis.  Kingsport Times News

Dems to unveil ethics commission bill; Denney may co-sponsor with them
According to the Ethics Center of the National Conference of State Legislatures, ethics commissions in 38 states, including Washington, have subpoena power; those in 20 states can issue orders that are enforceable in court.  The Spokesman Review

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

Getting serious about ethics
Right now, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, they are far from it. Washington state, which has the strongest standards, got an A in the NCSL's report card; Maryland got a D.  Opinion in the Baltimore Sun

States to take up health in 2012
The topic of health, including electronic records and health information exchanges, is among the top 12 legislative issues state lawmakers will grapple with in 2012, predicts the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Nextgov

Will Arizona hold ALEC acccountable?
Legislative membership organizations other than ALEC, such as the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Council of State Governments, would also have to file the same reports. However, as neither NCSL or CSG advance “model legislation,” they would not have to register as lobbying entities.  In These Times

Graddick jumps ahead in fundraising
Smokers now pay 42.5 cents per pack, the fifth-lowest among the 50 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The median tax in the country is $1.29 per pack.  Wetumpka Herald

Nebraska bill would require photo ID for voters
Eight states have passed photo ID laws that are comparable to the Nebraska proposal, said Wendy Underhill, a policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures. They are Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.  Washington Examiner (AP)

Jan 11

State legislatures back, with last year's battles still in mind
In 2011, 30 states made changes to their pension systems for public workers, including teachers. In many cases, legislators required educators to chip in more money to their pensions in an effort to drive down state costs, said Ron Snell, a senior fellow for the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Education Week

U.S. Sen Hatch plans bill to restructure state, local public pensions
States and local governments nationwide have targeted public pensions for cost-cutting after pension funds struggled through the recession, budget cuts and a backlash against public employee compensation.  Over the past two years, 40 state legislatures enacted significant revisions to at least one state retirement plan, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Wall Street Journal

Cuomo proposes some public funding of campaigns
It’s popular with underfunded challengers who need campaign finance reform the most to reduce a well-known incumbent opponent’s campaign cash advantage, although many challengers drop the issue once they are in office. Twenty-four states have some public financing of campaigns, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Long Island Press (AP)

Colo. bill hits lawmakers if budget isn't passed
In Washington state, lawmakers can be charged with criminal misdemeanor if they don't pass a budget 30 days before the start of a new biennium, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  KMGH Denver (AP)

Ada County mulls new hiring policy to screen out smokers
More than half of all states have laws that protect workers’ rights to engage in legal, off-duty activities, including using tobacco, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Idaho Statesman

Is renewable energy fueling jobs and start-ups in your region?
The National Conference of State Legislatures has a legislation tracking database – searchable by state, by topic — that will help you find pending or recently passed energy-related bills; tracing them back to sponors and lobbyists (as well as opponents) could lead to other angles of the renewable energy story in your region.  Reynolds Center

Omaha senator proposes 167% pay increase for lawmakers
A 2010 survey of salaries by the National Conference of State Legislatures shows a range of annual base salaries for legislators from $100 (yes, that's 100 crisp dollar bills, and $125 for the speakers) in New Hampshire to $79,500 in New York.  Lincoln Journal Star

2012 brings a number of new E-Verify requirements for employers in several states
Of most importance to employers and businesses are the states that enacted laws in 2011 regarding E-Verify participation. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 17 states now require E-Verify for public or private employers.  Lexology

Hatch targets local pension benefits
In 2010 and 2011, 41 states passed legislation changing their pensions, including restrictions on retirees’ ability to return to public payrolls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Salt Lake Tribune (Bloomberg)

In New Hampshire, voter ID rumors could hurt primary turnout
A complete list of Voter ID requirements from state to state is available here from the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Campus Progress

Jan 10

Campaign-finance regulations go before high court
Oregon is one of a handful of states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, with no limits on campaign contributions or spending. The others are Missouri, Utah and Virginia. Seven have minimal limits; the other 39 regulate them.  Statesman Journal

Budget gaps to exceed revenues in over half of U.S. states by July
Mostly, current revenue strength "has helped to mitigate budget shortfalls," said William Pound, executive director of the National Conference of State Legislatures, in a recent statement. "It could help stave off some of the deep cuts that lawmakers have made in previous sessions."  The Huffington Post

State-owned bank works for ND; other states interested
"I would say it comes down to about 50/50 in terms of the numbers between creating a bank and studying the issue," says Heather Morton of the National Conference of State Legislatures. "To date, Massachusetts is the only one that has passed legislation that studied the issue."  KFYR-TV

Moore: You call this a vacation?
In early December, I attended the National Conference of State Legislatures Fall Forum, and gained the support of my fellow legislators across the nation in opposing a new unfunded federal mandate being promoted by the US EPA for storm water regulations that would hurt businesses and cost jobs in Milford and Bellingham.  Opinion in the MetroWest Daily News

Gina Raimondo math convinces Rhode Island of America’s prospects
The overhaul the treasurer spearheaded, which raised the minimum retirement age with full benefits for most public workers to 67, is the most ambitious enacted in recent years, said Ronald Snell, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver.  Bloomberg

SD rare state to offer state employee raises
After four consecutive years in which states closed cumulative budget gaps of $500 billion, most are heading into the new year and the start of legislative sessions with stable or growing revenue, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Daily Republic (Bloomberg)

Looking ahead: issues facing state governments in 2012
From my perspective, the issue of federal deficits and debt will be the defining issue of the 2012 elections. When I addressed the state leadership conference of the National Conference of State Legislatures in Puerto Rico earlier this month, that seemed to be a perspective shared by a number of state Speakers of the House and Senate presidents who were in attendance.  Opinion in CivSource

Bill’s plan: Force all voters to show photo ID
Measures to impose or tighten voter ID requirements were introduced in 34 states and enacted in seven last year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nebraska and Iowa were among the states where legislation stalled.  Kearney Hub

Jan 9

Onetime Democratic speaker to become GOP leader in Louisiana
Not only will the longtime lawmaker become just the fifth state legislator in the nation to have led both chambers of his legislature, he will become the first one ever to do so under different party affiliations, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Stateline

Candidates back state's right-to-work bill
Bills related to right-to-work rules have been introduced or have carried over from last session in at least 15 states, including Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maine, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Wall Street Journal

Motorists salvage fur, food from critters' demise
Joking aside, at least 14 states have similar bills, including those that let motorists' keep animals they hit, though some pertain only to deer or bears, according to an informal survey for The Associated Press by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Green Bay Press Gazette and the San Francisco Chronicle (AP)

Bill would require photo ID to cast vote
Measures to impose or tighten voter ID requirements were introduced in 34 states and enacted in seven last year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Omaha World Herald

Kansas senators vow to press for rainy day savings
Kansas is one of three states with no formal budget stabilization or rainy day fund, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. But the others — Colorado and Montana — have alternative funding sources, the national bipartisan association said.  Kansas Reporter

State better off at online gaming table
Few politicians can resist the lure of increasing revenue without raising taxes, especially with the states facing a projected collective budget gap of $31.1 billion in 2012, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Editorial in the Hartford Courant

Cuomo urges expansion of DNA harvests as anti-crime tool; civil liberties issues raised
New York is among at least 40 states that do not require DNA from every misdemeanor criminal, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California requires all convicts to submit DNA, and most states collect DNA from those convicted of sex-crime misdemeanors.  The Journal News

Tougher measures needed on metal thefts
A survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures shows that states are getting much tougher on the point of sale.  Editorial in the Huntington Herald Dispatch

South Carolina makes questionable bid for private health insurance exchange
But some state leaders are concerned that cooperating with the federal government could come with high costs. So far, 13 states have enacted legislation to create exchanges, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  American Medical News

Supreme Court could review Voting Rights Act in Texas case
Although the Supreme Court has considered several redistricting cases, “you didn’t see a major challenge to the existence of Section 5 itself,” said Tim Storey, a redistricting analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures. The justices “could potentially do something very broad, because they asked the plaintiffs to brief on somewhat broad questions.”  The Daily Tar Heel

Fresh push coming for Va. welfare drug testing law
Out of 36 states that introduced legislation last year, just three — Arizona, Florida, and Missouri — enacted laws requiring drug testing for welfare recipients, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Daily Progress

Doubling up on retirement
New Mexico is not unique in offering its legislators a retirement plan. A total of 40 states have distinct retirement provisions – some mandatory and some optional – for legislators, according to a 2010 report from the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Albuquerque Journal

Group says states exploring state-owned banks
The National Conference of State Legislatures says in the last two years, at least 16 states have had bills to establish a state-owned bank, or to study the idea.  Valley News Live (AP)

Duty calls: Volunteering was start to public office for several women legislators
Also featured are a number of workshops led by the White House Project, the National Conference of State Legislatures, Belkin and University of Wyoming professor Christine Noel Boggs.  Billings Gazette

In S.D., lawmaker salary is not high
According to 2010 data from a National Conference of State Legislatures survey, only New Hampshire, New Mexico and Wyoming paid their lawmakers less than South Dakota.  Sioux Falls Argus Leader

Raising taxes on cigarettes isn't best way to rescue ailing General Fund, but it's probably the tax increase most likely to pass the Legislature
Alabama's current per-pack tax of 42.5 cents, as of Nov. 17, was the fifth-lowest among the 50 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The median tax -- 25 states have a higher tax and 25 are lower -- was $1.29 per pack.  Editorial in the Birmingham News

States struggle with national sex offender law
Susan Frederick, senior federal affairs counsel at the National Conference of State Legislatures, expects states to continue to press Congress for more discretion about which offenders to place on the three-tiered national registry, and for how long.  Bellingham Herald

Expect lawmakers to maintain control over ethics matters
"Forty states have some semblance of a legislative ethics committee," says the website of the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan research and service organization with offices in Denver and Washington.  Editorial in the Times and Democrat

John Alario gains Jindal's backing for top Senate post after switching party allegiances
Alario, the son of a Westwego fisherman, will enter an exclusive circle, becoming only the fifth lawmaker in the nation to serve as House speaker and Senate president of his state's legislature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a clearinghouse for legislative issues and information.  The Times-Picayune

Another ex-Otter staffer to lobby for Idaho Power; minority Democrats seek revolving door law
Peggy Kerns, director of the National Conference of State Legislatures' Center for Ethics in Government since 1999, said states that have adopted such rules did so largely to curb the appearance that officials could inappropriately cash in on their public posts.  The Republic (AP)

New voter identification laws take effect in several states this year
Kansas, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Texas will require voters to prove their identities at the ballot box, bringing the total number of states that require some form of voter identification to 30, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan group that provides research and data to state governments.  eNews Park Forest

New state law allows salvaging of pelts
The National Conference of State Legislatures said that at least 14 states have similar laws (Texas is not among them).  Fort Worth Star Telegram (AP)

Jan 6

California takes aim at budget gap
The budget situation in the most populous state mirrors the national picture, said Todd Haggerty, an analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures, a clearinghouse for state lawmakers. Wall Street Journal

Report finds most errors at hospitals go unreported
At least 27 states have laws that require hospitals to report publicly on infections that patients develop in the hospital, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, up from 6 at the end of 2005. New York Times

Campaign reform tips from the top
Good-government advocates have long said New York's limits are out of whack: An individual may donate $60,800 to a gubernatorial candidate (the median limit of all 50 states is $5,000, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures) and an unlimited amount to a party's "housekeeping" committee. Albany Times Union

Bob Bernick's notebook: promotions on Utah's Capitol Hill
Cantrell has even conducted web training sessions for the National Conference of State Legislatures and other professional legislative organizations. Utah Pulse

Proposal would require private insurers to cover abortions
At least 12 states have passed legislation restricting or banning insurance coverage of abortions since the 2010 federal health-care overhaul, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Spokeswoman Megan Dorsch said her staff was unaware of any state that had mandated coverage. Seattle Times

Alabama lawmakers angling for cigarette tax hikes
Alabama's current state cigarette tax of 42.5 cents per pack was, as of November 17, the fifth-lowest among the 50 states, according to the report, citing the National Conference of State Legislatures. The median state tax was $1.29 per pack. CSPnet.com

Yield gap at 11-year high prolongs long-term rally: muni credit
After closing budget gaps of $500 billion over the past four years, most now report stable or growing income, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. San Francisco Chronicle

Clients are preparing to retire, but now their benefits are cut
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, over the last two years 41 states have made cuts in their employee pension benefits. BankInvestmentConsultant.com

Statehood tour is going to be pretty crowded
Catania said he's gotten familiar with New Hampshire officials through the D.C. Council's membership in the National Conference of State Legislatures, mentioning specifically Cindy Rosenwald, a member of the New Hampshire State of Representatives who has sponsored multiple resolutions backing D.C. statehood. DCist Blog

Jan 5

Convicted lobbyist Abramoff tells lawmakers to be wary of money
Peggy Kerns, director of the Center for Ethics in Government at the National Conference of State Legislatures, had traveled from Denver to listen to Abramoff. “I thought he had important things to say,” she said afterward. “He has real words of wisdom.” Bloomberg Businessweek

Montana State Supreme Court: Citizens United not welcome here
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 11 states have also repealed bans on corporate expenditures, and administrative agencies in five states have declared corporate political expenditure bans unconstitutional. Truthout Blog

Hard times waning as recovery may bring bonuses to South Dakota
After four consecutive years in which states closed cumulative budget gaps of $500 billion, most are heading into the new year and the start of legislative sessions with stable or growing revenue, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. San Francisco Chronicle

State's bigwigs need to muster the passion to help Virginians
Virginia also is one of 18 states that doesn't offer early voting beyond absentee ballots, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Virginian-Pilot

Year in Review: November - December 2011
NYS Senator Patrick Gallivan was named to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Human Services and Welfare Committee for 2011-12. MetroWNY Blog

How will new laws – and pending rules – affect local businesses?
According to this press release from the always helpful National Conference of State Legislatures, “New laws ring in the New Year,” states have posed new requirements ranging from e-Verify (anti illegal-immigration checking, which I wrote about in this recent blog post) employment rules to a New Mexico tax credit for oncologists with patients in certain clinical trials. Reynolds Center Business Journal

Christine Gregoire expected to support Washington gay-marriage bill
Currently, gay marriage is legal in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa and the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. ThirdAge Blog

2012 ushers in new laws impacting immigrants
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that a wide range of laws in at least 21 states took effect on New Year’s Day. Many of these statutes affect the lives of the 37 million immigrants who call America home. Feet in Two Worlds Blog

W.Va.’s congressional redistricting plan the first thrown out by courts this year
“In terms of a plan being thrown out, I think West Virginia is the only one that has happened so far,” said Tim Story, a senior fellow with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Watchdog.org

HIEs, health technology among state lawmakers' 2012 priorities
Healthcare technology is well-represented in a National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) roundup of the top issues that will dominate the legislative agenda in 2012, including the task of establishing state and regional health information exchanges (HIE). FierceHealthIT

NCSL ranks healthcare among state legislators' top 2012 priorities
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) on Tuesday published its annual listing of top priorities for the coming year, and healthcare and health IT issues were cheif concerns for 2012. Government Health IT

Jan 4

WA Gov. Gregoire expected to back gay-marriage bill
Currently, gay marriage is legal in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa and the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Seattle Times

Hard times waning as recovery may bring bonuses to South Dakota
After four consecutive years in which states closed cumulative budget gaps of $500 billion, most are heading into the new year and the start of legislative sessions with stable or growing revenue, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg

Lawmakers to consider voter ID requirement
"Voter ID has been the hottest topic of legislation in the field of elections [in 2011]," the website for the National Conference of State Legislatures says. Santa Fe New Mexican

Meet occupy wall street's favorite banker
Since 2010, state lawmakers in at least 16 states have introduced bills to create a state bank, something similar, or study the issue, according to a study by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Governing

Whitney muni-bond apocalypse fades as default spike unlikely
California, New York, Missouri and Washington have midyear budget deficits, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. NewsMax.com

(Opinion) My word: Let's discuss elections rationally
Others may cry that early voting is not long enough, but they won't tell you that Florida is one of only 32 states that offers early voting, and one of just 12 with statewide early voting on the weekends, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Orlando Sentinel

Jacksonville man pushes petition to recall Florida elected officials
Nineteen states allow residents to remove elected leaders before their terms end, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization that provides research and other assistance to lawmakers. Florida is not one. Florida Times-Union

Bill: Florida would join national insurance compact
The commission has been endorsed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the National Conference of State Legislatures. The News-Press

Vital signs: Smokers need not apply; breastfeeding nurse-ins
The number of states that have laws in place allowing women to breastfeed anywhere in public, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Washington, D.C., also allows the practice. Source: "Breastfeeding Moms Stage 'Nurse-In' Protests at Target Stores," CBS News. Atlantic Monthly

W.Va. Congressional redistricting plan voided
The Jefferson County Commission countered with figures from the redistricting that followed the 2000 Census, compiled by the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. Martinsburg Journal

Happy New Year: 40,000 new laws to take effect in 2012
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), about 40,000 new laws will go into effect in 2012, and that doesn’t include laws and provisions within laws that will also take effect this year on a federal level. Independent Voter Network

Jan 3

Experts: Impact of S.C. voter ID law rejection limited
And the South Carolina decision applies only in that state, limiting its national impact, said Jennie Bowser, an elections expert at the National Conference of State Legislatures. USA Today

Tax-free Internet sales may soon be Web relic
States are hungry for more tax revenue, especially since they have had to cut more than $400 billion from their budgets over the past four years because of the bad economy, said Neal Osten, director of the Washington office of the National Conference of State Legislatures, a lobbying group for states that has been advocating for the online sales tax bill. Boston Globe

Voter ID laws lead flurry of new statutes
"Voter ID was definitely a hot issue, and the debate around it was close to boiling over," says Meagan Dorsch, the NCSL's director of public affairs. "I think that in 2012 we could be looking at a flurry of lawsuits over voter ID laws passed in 2011." Wall Street Journal

Lawmakers fire up plans to raise state cigarette tax
Alabama's current state cigarette tax of 42.5 cents per pack was, as of Nov. 17, the fifth-lowest among the 50 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The median state tax was $1.29 per pack: The tax was higher than the median in 25 states and lower in 25. Birmingham News

Whitney apocalypse fades as default spike unlikely: muni credit
California, New York, Missouri and Washington have midyear budget deficits, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. San Francisco Chronicle

DoJ’s internet gaming green light to states is ‘no big deal for tribes’
The opinion has caused a flurry of interest in states looking to bolster revenues in the face of a projected collective budget gap of $31.1 billion in 2012, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Indian Country Today Media Network

Faiss, at 100, reflects upon time in Nevada Legislature
The National Conference of State Legislatures doesn't track records of legislators' longevity, but Faiss very well could be the oldest living ex-legislator in the United States. Las Vegas Review-Journal

Universities pay for legislators’ gifts
The National Conference of State Legislatures lists each state's gift restrictions on its website, ncsl.org. Altoona Mirror

State house notebook: Maliseet takes seat in House this week
Maine is the only state that has tribal representatives seated in the House chamber, although several states have committees dedicated to Indian affairs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Press Herald

New Pa. laws include text ban, display of hunting licenses
States enacted nearly 40,000 laws in 2011, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which provides support and research to legislators and their staffs. Pension changes, immigration and voter identification were popular topics this year, organization spokesman Jon Kuhl said. Connellsville Daily Courier

Two more states allow same-sex civil unions
With Hawaii and Delaware joining the list Sunday, five states now recognize same-sex civil unions, while six other states and Washington, D.C., allow same-sex marriage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. CNN

New year brings many new laws
Some 40,000 laws were passed by legislatures meeting in all 50 states during 2011, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and many have a start date of Jan. 1, 2012. Cherry Hill Courier Post

New laws target immigration, abortion, alcohol and animals
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, nearly 40,000 state laws were enacted in 2011. Some go into effect on January 1. CNN

State revenue rises, but not enough to offset cuts
“It’s at a slow pace. But any improvement, no matter how small, is positive news,” said Todd Haggerty, a research analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Long Island Press

Voter photo ID, E-Verify laws to take effect in new year
The National Conference of State Legislatures said more states are expected to pursue curbs on illegal immigration in 2012, with lawmakers looking to the Supreme Court's ruling on Arizona's immigration law in its upcoming term for guidance on how expansive state measures can be. Chicago Tribune

New laws toughen rules on abortions, immigrants, voters
NBC News, the National Conference of State Legislatures, The Associated Press, and other organizations tracked the changes and offered their views on the highlights. TODAY (NBC)

Is it too late to save the Golden State?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, some 40,000 new laws take effect across the 50 States effective January 1, 2012. Canada Free Press

Del. explores online lottery ticket sales after ruling
Online tickets may bring much-needed revenue to states facing a collective $31.9 billion budget gap in the next fiscal year, according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. Delaware News Journal

BlackBerry loses market share
In all, states face a $31.9 billion budget gap in the next fiscal year, according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. California - with its perpetual budget crunch - is reviewing the ruling. San Francisco Chronicle

2 doctors indicted for murder over late-term Md. abortions
The law "establishes that a prosecution may be instituted for murder, manslaughter, or unlawful homicide under certain conditions for an act or failure to act that causes the death of a viable fetus," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. USA Today

CDR pleads guilty in bid-rigging probe
States had a cumulative budget deficit of about $91bn for the 2012 fiscal year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That gap was bridged with cuts in social services and tax increases. Financial Times

New state laws going into effect in 2012
Interview with NCSL's Jon Kuhl. MSNBC

 

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