NCSL in the News | January 2017

1/5/2017

Jan. 31

Labor Unions Appear Set For More State-Level Defeats In 2017
NPR
If all three states succeed in enacting "right-to-work" bills, it would be the most states rolling back union power in one year since 1947, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Success in New Hampshire would also make it the first state in the Northeast with a "right-to-work" law.
 
Amazon Adds to List of States Where It Collects Sales Tax
Bloomberg BNA
Max Behlke, manager of state-federal relations for the National Conference of State Legislatures, has told Bloomberg BNA that at least 36 bills have been introduced in 18 states in 2017 related to sales tax on transactions by remote sellers. 

Will more women run for office after the Women's March? There's ...
The Denver Post
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.
 
A year after almost legalizing it, Utah Legislature questions whether ...
Salt Lake Tribune
As of November, 28 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized medical marijuana in some way, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Wisconsin's opioid epidemic rages on, critics charge response is lame
Wisconsin Gazette
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.
 
Homicide charges sought for heroin dealers
Gloucester Daily Times
Illinois and Pennsylvania passed felony drug-induced homicide laws in 2011, and Kansas in 2012, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
ANOTHER VIEW: Ethics panel needed in legislature
Examiner Enterprise
Oklahoma is one of 10 states without a permanent ethics committee in its legislature or rules for how to investigate members, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
South Dakota lawmakers could scrap voter-backed ethics rules
Daily Republic
At least 10 states, albeit not South Dakota, have provisions to protect citizens' initiatives from state lawmakers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
How do bag taxes impact grocery shopping?
Food Dive
When people use the reusable bags, it helps mitigate harmful impacts through pollution to oceans, rivers, lakes, forests and the wildlife that inhabit them, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. Reducing bags also relieves pressure on landfills and waste management.
 
Local legislators mixed on idea of statewide lottery
Vicksburg Post
“Before I would approve it, I have to look at the particulars on it and make sure the money it allocated the way I want it to be allocated.” Mississippi is one of six states without a lottery, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and several previous proposals have died. A bill for a lottery passed the House last year, but failed to make it to the Senate.

Jan. 30

Some questions and answers about the Beacon Hill pay raise plan
Boston.com
Ten governors earned higher salaries than in Massachusetts. Base pay for Beacon Hill legislators was the seventh highest in the nation in 2016, according to a survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In Tennessee, lobbyists' employers face few disclosure rules
The Tennessean
A 50-state survey of lobbyist reporting requirements by the National Conference of State Legislatures shows the extent of reporting requirements in other states.
 
For 2016, Arkansas legislator expenses at $2.3M
Arkansas Online
"I did come to a lot of meetings, especially that health care task force. I wanted to be there whenever they presented [at the task force]," said Stubblefield, a farmer. His expenses included $3,073.08 to attend the National Conference of State Legislatures' annual meeting in Chicago in August, and $2,325.70 to attend the Council of State Governments conference in Williamsburg, Va., in December, according to legislative records.
 
South Dakota lawmakers could scrap voter-backed ethics rules
Hawaii News Now
At least 10 states, albeit not South Dakota, have provisions to protect citizens' initiatives from state lawmakers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. For example, Alaska and Wyoming lawmakers can't repeal an initiative within two years. It takes a two-thirds majority in Arkansas and Nebraska to amend or repeal, while the California Legislature can't repeal or amend an initiated statute unless the measure specifically allows it.
 
Trump's voter fraud probe could be used to justify voting restrictions
TucsonSentinel.com
Thirty-two states require some form of identification at the polls, the National Conference of State Legislatures said.
 
State of the Standoff: Will it ever end? Budget impasse reaches ...
The Southern
When it comes to Illinois’ budget standoff, “there’s no comparison that we can point to,” said Arturo Perez, a fiscal analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Illinois impasse: 'There's no comparison that we can point to'
Quad City Times
When it comes to Illinois’ budget standoff, “there’s no comparison that we can point to,” said Arturo Perez, a fiscal analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Amended bill would match Wyoming, federal minimum wages
Wyoming Tribune
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, every state around Wyoming has a higher state-level minimum wage for non-tipped employees.
 
Will Anti-Trans Bathroom Bills Ever Die?
Daily Beast
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, legislators in 11 states concentrated in the South and Midwest—including Texas, South Carolina, and Minnesota—have bathroom bills under consideration in the 2017 legislative session. If it wasn’t apparent before that some state legislators won’t quit until they manage to codify transphobia into law, it should be eminently clear by now.
 
Judge: Don't punish YISD teacher for Colorado high
El Paso Times
A final decision on the case will come from the State Board for Educator Certification this spring. But some advocates and legal experts say the administrative law judge's recommendation points to changing views on marijuana. While against federal law, 28 states now allow for medical marijuana use and eight permit recreational marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Texas Senate cites 'decorum' to increase distance between ...
Columbia Journalism Review
Wyoming officials noted in response to a 2014 survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures, “This change was made because more entities were registering as media—some of which also were registered to lobby.”
 
Voter fraud probe could pave way for tough rules
Gulf Times
Thirty-two states require some form of identification at the polls, the National Conference of State Legislatures said.
 
Andreatta: Why can't we recall Judge Astacio?
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Recalling a sitting judge is almost unheard of. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia permit the recall of state officials, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But only eight of them allow for judges to be recalled.
 
If you have cancer or diabetes, President Trump's 'across-state-lines ...
cleveland.com
This is just one of many studies to point this out. For example, nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes. Before the Affordable Care Act, Ohio, which has 675,000diabetes patients, was one of four states that didn't specifically require insurers to cover diabetes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Jan. 27

Prosecutors Try New Tack in Investigating Police Shootings
Wall Street Journal
Since 2014, eight states have made changes to the process of investigating ... alleged police abuse, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Iowa considers broadening opt-outs for child vaccinations
Washington Times
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 20 other states have adopted personal belief exemptions for immunizations.

Trump could revive Missouri proposal on deported immigrants
AP
National Conference of State Legislatures spokesman Mick Bullock says Missouri appears to be the first and only state to consider such a proposal. The bill died last year in the House.
 
What Are School Vouchers and How Do They Work?
Education Week 
Today nearly 30 states have vouchers or some closely related form of private school choice, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Voter-ID legislation moves to state House; measure struck down in ...
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.
 
Trump's Voter Fraud Probe Serves As A Dog Whistle For Voter ...
The National Memo
Thirty-two states require some form of identification at the polls, the National Conference of State Legislatures said.
 
Calls grow to create ethics panel at Capitol
Tahlequah Daily Press
Not so Oklahoma, which is one of 10 states without a permanent ethics committee in its legislature or rules for how to investigate members, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Legal or Not, Smoking Weed Can Get You Fired
Barron's
Read up on your state’s laws. Laws vary state to state. Maine’s statute, for example, says that employers can’t refuse employment to someone solely for smoking pot. “If Mr. Smith, for example, uses marijuana at home and goes to work the day, unimpaired, the employer can’t terminate,” says Glasser. Here’s a cheat sheet from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Taxpayer group: Lawmaker pay hike adds to challenges
Lowell Sun
"The National Conference of State Courts does an annual study and reports that we are 45th in the country in terms of judicial salaries if you adjust for cost of living. If this bill passes we will move to 25th in the country -- right square as the median in terms of judicial salaries," Gants said, declining to comment further.
 
Washington, other states eye school bus seat belts
Hawaii Tribune Herald
California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Texas have existing variations of a seat belt law for school buses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At least 17 states, including Washington, have introduced legislation regarding seat belts on school buses in the 2017 sessions.

Analysis: Trump Voter Fraud Inquiry Could Shrink Voting Rights
Voice of America
While U.S. citizenship is required to vote in American elections, most states allow those wishing to register to simply sign a statement affirming they are citizens. Thirty-two states require some form of identification at the polls, the National Conference of State Legislatures said.
 
Editorial: Watch lawmakers do your business, on your schedule
Albuquerque Journal
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “more than half the states … archive and make available on the web floor proceedings, and about half archive some or all committee proceedings for varying lengths of time.”
 
Other voices: Spellings speaks the truth on HB2
Salisbury Post
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, similar legislation is pending in five states. It has already been rejected in 14 other states, including some on the right side of the spectrum, like Kansas and South Carolina. More than half the states know better than to even attempt the mistake our legislature made. Ours is the only state that has passed such a stringent regulation.

Emotional testimony buoys bill to increase penalties for texting while ...
Estes Park Trail-Gazette
Colorado is one of at least 46 states that ban text messaging for all drivers, according to the Denver-based bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Several States Consider Legislation Adding School Bus Seatbelts
Claims Journal
California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Texas have existing variations of a seat beltlaw for school buses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At least 17 states, including Washington, have introduced legislation regarding seatbelts on school buses in the 2017 sessions.

Chris Audick/CNN
KPRC Houston
A total of 34 states have laws requesting or requiring voters to show some form of ID at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Guest Column: An independent Ethics Commission is still needed
Williston Observer
Currently, Vermont is one of seven states without any form of ethics commission, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. 
 
Committee kills religious freedom bill
Journal Advocate
As many as 21 states and the federal government have religious freedom laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislators, but most were adopted at a time when gay rights weren't widely accepted and the measures weren't viewed in that context.
 
PA lawmakers send letter to Trump regarding Real ID Act
FOX43.com
The National Conference of State Legislators estimated that REAL ID implementation will cost as much as $11 billion over 5 years nationwide. PennDOT has already received $5.4 million in federal grants to assist with REAL ID requirements.
 
Utah looks to capitalize on dip in opioid drug deaths
Cache Valley Daily
States across the country are working to curb their own epidemics. National Conference of State Legislatures said it tracked more than 500 state proposals dealing with prescription drug abuse in 2016. They expect a similar number this year, said Karmen Hanson, a program director at the council.

Jan. 26

What are sanctuary cities, and can they be defunded?
CNN
And 12 states and the District of Columbia have laws allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Overstock, Others Will Report, Not Collect Colorado Tax
Bloomberg BNA
Also, he said, “we’re not excited about exposing Overstock to another state audit, and by voluntarily collecting, we’d be exposing ourselves to audits by the state of Colorado.” “Candidly, I’d be surprised if there are many companies out there that will do what the National Conference of State Legislatures and tax collectors think is going to happen: start collecting taxes,” he said.
 
Utah looks to capitalize on dip in opioid drug deaths
Washington Times
States across the country are working to curb their own epidemics. National Conference of State Legislatures said it tracked more than 500 state proposals dealing with prescription drug abuse in 2016. They expect a similar number this year, said Karmen Hanson, a program director at the council.
 
Emotional testimony buoys bill to increase penalties for texting while driving
The Denver Post
Colorado is one of at least 46 states that ban text messaging for all drivers, according to the Denver-based bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Bill to raise felony theft threshold advances in state Senate committee
Virginian-Pilot
Claire Guthrie GastaƱaga, executive director of the state ACLU, said raising the threshold to $500 is “a good first step.” But a higher amount would bring Virginia in line with what other nearby states have done, she said. Maryland, North Carolina and Washington, D.C. have thresholds set at $1,000 and South Carolina’s is $2,000, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Gehrke: There may be hope that Utah will finally get serious about hate crimes
Salt Lake Tribune
Sen. Daniel Thatcher, the West Valley City Republican sponsoring the bill, said he spent the last year laying the groundwork for the bill, starting with a review by the National Conference of State Legislatures of the laws on the books in 50 other states.
 
Part-time legislature pushed by state representative
MLive.com
Michigan is one of ten states considered to have a full-time legislature, according to 2014 data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. And while 16 states have definitely part-time legislatures, the remaining 24 have a hybrid in-between model.
 
Texas least affected by ACA repeal
Times Record News
Data sources for the analysis came from the U.S Census Bureau, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Urban Institute, The Commonwealth Fund, and the National Conference of State Legislature and Alliance of Defending Freedom.
 
Texas GOP stars push school choice, but will it be enough?
KVIA El Paso
Thirteen states and the District of Columbia offer some form of vouchers, according to the National Conference of State Legislators, and academic studies show mixed classroom results that can be similar to those of traditional public schools.
 
Alaska Democrat proposes gun bill after airport shooting
Juneau Empire
California and Connecticut are the only states with gun violence protection order laws, said Jon Griffin, a program principal with the National Conference of State Legislatures. In an email Tuesday, he said bills on the topic were proposed or carried over in at least six states last year but none passed.

Online lottery proponents renew their push
SouthCoastToday.com
Since then, Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky and Georgia have passed laws allowing online lottery games, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Minnesota began offering online lottery games in 2014, then passed a law the following year to suspend the program indefinitely.
 
Maryland Among States Eyeing School Bus Seat Belts
CBS Local
California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Texas have existing variations of a seat belt law for school buses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At least 17 states, including Washington, have introduced legislation regarding seat belts on school buses in the 2017 sessions.
 
Want early voting and same-day registration in Pa.? So does this ...
The Incline
Early voting is already widespread in the U.S. The practice is permitted in 37 states and the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, although some studies have shown it doesn’t increase voter turnout.
 
Seat belt bill being considered in Washington and other states
WRCB-TV
The National Conference of State Legislatures says California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Texas have existing variations of a seat belt law for school buses. And at least 17 states, including Washington, have introduced legislation regarding seat belts on school buses in the 2017 sessions.
 
House Judiciary Committee advances “campus carry” bill
Wyoming Business Report
Currently, eight states allow concealed firearms on college campuses: Colorado, Idaho, Kansas (effective July 1), Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. However, laws in each of those states carry their own nuances.
 
Sid Salter: Will Senate pass election reforms?
Jackson Clarion Ledger
Nevertheless, early voting is reality in most of the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislature:
 
New York Young Adults to Be Most Affected by Repeal of ACA: Study
Patch.com
Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most negative outcome for the state. Data were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, The Urban Institute, The Commonwealth Fund, National Conference of State Legislature and Alliance Defending Freedom. 
 
Education Coalition voices opposition to School Choice
FOX 7 Austin
Thirteen states and the District of Columbia offer some form of vouchers, according to the National Conference of State Legislator.

Jan. 25

Washington Looks to Fix Paid Leave Policy Dormant Since 2007
TIME
If any of the measures pass, Washington would be added to the list of four states that guarantee paid family leave: California, New Jersey, Rhode Island and New York, though New York’s program doesn’t take effect until next year. Seven other states will consider legislative proposals this year for paid family leave measures, according to The National Conference of State Legislatures.

North Dakota Weighs Lifting Sunday Morning Shopping Ban
ABC News
About a dozen states have some form of Sunday sales laws, but only North Dakota prohibits shopping on Sunday morning, said Heather Morton, a legislative analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Texas could help fund your kids' private education if you pull them 
Dallas News
“Unfortunately, we don’t really know,” said Josh Cunningham, a senior policy education specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan, nonprofit research group.
 
Has Utah outgrown a part-time Legislature?
Deseret News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Utah is one of only six states with a limited, part-time Legislature. With a population of just more than 3 million, it is larger than the other five — Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and New Hampshire. It also is larger than many of the states in the next level up, with part-time legislatures but larger staffs.
 
Letter: Stop abuse of legislators' travel expenses
Sioux Falls Argus Leader
I’m not criticizing all travel by legislators. Travel that is directly related to fair and effective S.D. state governance, for example to the nonpartisan meetings of the National Conference of State Legislatures, is a fair and justifiable use of state funds. But travel to meetings organized by partisan groups or groups that don’t promote the public interest should not be funded. One such group is the American Legislative Exchange Council, which is not committed to fair governance for all. Instead, ALEC’s mission is to encourage a highly partisan right wing agenda to benefit big business. ALEC is funded almost entirely by the Koch brothers and their big business buddies for the purpose of wining, dining, tutoring and grooming state legislators to produce state legislation designed to benefit big business – not you, me and our neighbors.

MAEP good formula, Mississippi House minority leader Baria says
Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal
According to the National Conference of state Legislatures, only Mississippi and Alabama have no provision in state law prohibiting employers from discriminating against someone in terms of their pay based on sex.
 
State aims to fix paid leave law dormant since 2007
Peninsula Daily News
Seven other states will consider legislative proposals this year for paid family leave measures, according to The National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Roger Chesley: Political hacks stifle access at the ballot box
Virginian-Pilot
Wendy Underhill, program director for the bipartisan and nonprofit National Conference of State Legislatures, confirmed the magazine’s account. Underhill told me the issue isn’t new – only the mandate is. “Many states in 1950 were asking for IDs,” she said, “but it wasn’t necessarily required.” Underhill said it’s unclear how many people become frustrated and skip voting because of the evolving regulations.
 
Ban on North Dakota Sunday morning sales could be lifted
Bismarck Tribune
There are a few states that have restrictions on general retail transactions, excluding alcohol and car sales, said Heather Morton, program principal at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri and North Carolina allow local governments to decide on Sunday sales, she said.
 
Indiana, other states eye school bus seat belts
WANE
California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Texas have existing variations of a seat belt law for school buses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At least 17 states, including Washington, have introduced legislation regarding seat belts on school buses in the 2017 sessions.
 
Trump's election sets up potential new attacks on unions
Fight Back! Newspaper
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Republican Party was also elected to control of both legislative chambers in 32 states, a record high. Republicans control 33 of the country’s governorships, and Republicans control both legislatures and the governorship in 24 states, giving them complete control in those states.

Washington 1 of many states eyeing school bus seat belts
East Oregonian
The National Conference of State Legislatures says California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Texas have existing variations of a seat belt law for school buses. And at least 17 states, including Washington, have introduced legislation regarding seat belts on school buses in the 2017 sessions.
 
Pellicciotti sponsors bill to enact “cooling off” period from lobbying
Federal Way Mirror
The federal government and at least 31 states require a “cooling off” period to slow the revolving door between the public and private sectors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. As far back as 1872, Congress enacted laws restricting former public officials and employees from lobbying.

Who Is In The Driver's Seat? The Rise Of Self-Driving Cars And ...
Alexandrianews.org
Since 2012, at least 34 states, and Washington, D.C., have “considered legislation related to autonomous vehicles,” notes the National Conference of State Legislatures. “In 2016, 20 states introduced legislation. Sixteen states introduced legislation in 2015, up from 12 states in 2014, nine states and D.C. in 2013, and six states in 2012.”
 
Doctor: My hometown has basically banned drones entirely, so I'm ...
Ars Technica UK
Last year, a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures noted that in Nevada, property owners now have the right to sue for trespass for any drone operator who flies at a height of less than 250 feet over that property and if the owner has warned the pilot once before.

Jan. 24

NCSL Task Force On SALT Meets In Anticipation Of Active Legislative Sessions
Bloomberg BNA
On Saturday, January 14, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Task Force on State and Local Taxation (Task Force) met in Scottsdale, Arizona to discuss many of the key legislative issues that are likely to be considered by states in 2017. The Task Force consists of state legislators and staff from 33 states and serves as an open forum to discuss tax policy issues and trends with legislators and staff from other states, tax practitioners and industry representatives.

Roger Chesley: Political hacks stifle access at the ballot box
Virginian-Pilot
Wendy Underhill, program director for the bipartisan and nonprofit National Conference of State Legislatures, confirmed the magazine’s account. Underhill told me the issue isn’t new – only the mandate is. “Many states in 1950 were asking for IDs,” she said, “but it wasn’t necessarily required.” Underhill said it’s unclear how many people become frustrated and skip voting because of the evolving regulations.

Vaccines are growing topic for legislation — and advocacy — at the Capitol
NewsOK.com
Oklahoma is one of 18 states that allow philosophical exemptions for those who object to immunizations because of personal, moral or other beliefs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Legislator aims to disqualify drug addicts from welfare
Bismarck Tribune
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 15 states have laws requiring drug testing and screening for public assistance programs. The issue has been debated on the state level since federal welfare program reform passed Congress in 1996.

Some question push for tougher penalties for attacking cops in ...
KSHB
Almost every state, including Missouri, already has tougher penalties for assaults or other offenses against police, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
     
Kansas colleges look for ways to offer $15000 degree
Lawrence Journal World
Dustin Weeden, a policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said competency-based learning, which allows students to complete courses at their own pace instead of in structured semesters, could help bring down a degree's cost.
     
Millstone Wants Access To Bigger Markets For Its Electricity
Hartford Courant
Legislation in other states calls for ratepayer subsidies, ends a ban on building nuclear reactors and creates a financing mechanism for investor-owned utilities to recover some costs related to the early closing of a nuclear plant, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
This could be the year you decide to run for office
Idaho Business Review
he Idaho Senate lost one female lawmaker in the November elections, but the House gained four, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
STARTING YOUNG: Young Lawmakers Taking Their Place in W.Va ...
The Exponent Telegram
Of the more than 7,300 state legislators in the nation, fewer than 5 percent are 30 years old or younger, according to 2015 data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Grieving mother pleads with drivers to put down their phones
Muskogee Daily Phoenix
Fourteen states ban drivers from using hand-held mobile phones while driving, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Our view: Margaret Spellings speaks the truth
Winston-Salem Journal
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, similar legislation is pending in five states. It has already been rejected in 14 other states, including some on the right side of the spectrum, like Kansas and South Carolina. More than half the states know better than to even attempt the mistake our legislature made. Ours is the only state that has passed such a stringent regulation.
 
This year, slim numbers of lawmakers who practice law
Casper Star-Tribune Online
A 2015 study by the National Conference of State Legislatures and Pew Charitable Trusts found that just over 5 percent of state lawmakers across the country worked in farming. About 14 percent were attorneys.

Jan. 23

Philadelphia Poised to Ban Employers From Asking Hires About Salary History
Wall Street Journal
Massachusetts was the first state to enact such a law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California passed a similar measure last year that doesn’t bar wage-history inquiries but prohibits employers from using prior salary as a justification to pay employees different wages for similar work.
 
DNC Chair candidates: Recruitment and training works
The Hill
According to the National Conference on State Legislatures, that’s more than at any other time in the history of the Republican Party. They also hold more total seats than they have since 1920—more than 4,100 of 7,383. 

States Watch as Partnership Audit Fixes Await Congress
Bloomberg BNA
Some states, such as Arizona and Montana, have taken a more proactive approach by adopting or proposing legislation. However, Max Behlke, manager of state-federal relations for the National Conference of State Legislatures, told Bloomberg BNA that he isn’t aware of other states following their lead at this time.

Education accounts get state look
Arkansas Online
Education savings account legislation has been enacted in five states -- Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee -- according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
School choice advocates campaign for mini-grants to parents
Jacksonville Daily Progress
Several states have adopted the education accounts including Arizona, Florida, Nevada, Mississippi and Tennessee, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Thursday round-up
SCOTUSblog
At the National Conference of State Legislatures Blog, Lisa Soronen discusses the court’s recent decision to review National Association of Manufacturers v. Department of Defense, which asks whether challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency’s definition of the “waters of the United States” must be brought in federal district court or in a federal court of appeals, observing that the “Supreme Court has likely stepped in to resolve this dispute because it is a waste of judicial resources for federal courts of appeals to decide whether WOTUS regulations are lawful if they don’t have the jurisdiction to make this determination.”

Washington tries to fix paid leave law dormant since 2007
Business Insider
The National Conference of State Legislatures says paid family leave measures have been introduced in seven states besides Washington this year.

Holly Richardson: No one is indispensable, and it's time to call Hatch home
Salt Lake Tribune
Gov. Gary Herbert is leading the best managed state in the nation, and I would argue Lt. Governor Spencer Cox is the best lieutenant governor in the country. Sen. Curt Bramble is the president of the National Conference of State Legislatures, and Speaker Greg Hughes and Senate President Wayne Niederhauser are nationally known and respected

Weak home-school laws can make children targets for abuse ...
DesMoinesRegister.com
No recent legislation adding regulation or monitoring of home schoolers has been passed in states across the country after organized efforts to defeat such legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.
 
Some question push for tougher penalties for attacking cops
News-Herald.com
Almost every state, including Missouri, already has tougher penalties for assaults or other offenses against police, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Kansas colleges look for ways to offer $15000 degree
Clay Center Dispatch
Dustin Weeden, a policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said competency-based learning, which allows students to complete courses at their own pace instead of in structured semesters, could help bring down a degree's cost.

America's School Choice Map: 5 Hot Spots for Vouchers, Savings Accounts and Tuition Tax Breaks
The 74
The number of private education choice programs around the country more than doubled between 2010 and 2016, according to research and advocacy organization EdChoice. Today, 27 states and Washington, D.C., have some sort of program, and some have more than one type, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Janelle Stecklein: Grieving mother pleads with drivers to put down ...
Joplin Globe
Fourteen states ban drivers from using hand-held mobile phones while driving, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Put down cellphones, pleads grieving mother to drivers
Enid News & Eagle
Fourteen states ban drivers from using hand-held mobile phones while driving, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
ND bills aim to promote trust in elected officials
Jamestown Sun
North Dakota is one of eight states that does not have an independent ethics commission with jurisdiction over members of the Legislature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
From lawmaker to lobbyist: Should Michigan slow down the ...
Crain's Detroit Business
Unlike Michigan, more than 30 states already have similar "cooling-off" measures in place, according to data from the National Conference on State Legislatures.
 
GOP leadership downplays governor's residence issue
Bismarck Tribune
He said the trip to the Gettysburg battlefield he mentioned in his remarks was part of a National Conference of State Legislatures-sponsored trip. Carlson explained the point of the trip and why they were told during the tour about the Southern soldiers trying to take the hill.
 
In New Mexico, Disagreement About 3rd Grade Reading and 'Social Promotion’
Education Week
As of last October, 16 states and the District of Columbia require students who aren't reading proficiently by the end of 3rd grade to be retained, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Fourteen of those allow some exceptions, and eight additional states (including New Mexico) allow students to be retained for not being proficient at the end of 3rd grade but don't require it.

Health Dept. reminder: HPV vaccine big part of cancer prevention
Devil's Lake Daily Journal
North Dakota does provide funding for HPV education, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, after passing a law in 2007. However, there are currently no bills before the legislature that would make the vaccine mandatory.

GOP committee kills Virginia bathroom bill similar to House Bill 2
The Progressive Pulse
There were eight states that prefiled or introduced legislation this session restricting transgender access to restrooms, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. Bills are still pending in Alabama, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas and Washington.
 
Washington among states that face deadline on REAL ID
New Jersey Herald
In addition to the measures introduced in Washington, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon, and South Carolina all have introduced bills related to REAL ID compliance this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Lawmaker's idea to open up Maine House to social media crashes
Press Herald
The use of social media by legislative staff and lawmakers varies from state to state, but at least five states – Alaska, Hawaii, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin – have developed written policies, according to a March 2016 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. But most of those policies pertain to the use of social media by staff, and no state appears to have established a policy permitting the use of live video by elected officials during proceedings.

Jan. 19

States hope Trump era will reset federal relationship
The Hill
From replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to management of public lands and major tax reforms, even some Republicans are taking a wait-and-see approach.
“We have a great hope, cautiously optimistic, but we’re somewhat apprehensive,” said Utah state Sen. Curt Bramble, a Republican who served as president of the National Conference of State Legislatures and on the board of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council.

Collecting Remote Sales Tax Top Federal Issue to States
Bloomberg BNA
The National Conference of State Legislatures ranked remote sales tax collection as its number one state-federal priority for 2017. Many states’ legislative leaders don’t feel Congress will enact anything on state sales and use tax collection on remote sales—such as the Marketplace Fairness Act—until after it takes up major changes to the federal tax code proposed by the Republican majority and by the incoming Trump administration. “I don’t think they’re going to do anything before tax reform, and there’s concern they might use it as leverage,” said Max Behlke, budget and tax policy director. “They might give states the Marketplace Fairness Act in exchange for state’s taking the hit they might take from tax reform.”
 
NC Senator Dan Blue (D-Wake) elected president of National Conference of State Legislatures
North State Journal
A fixture in the N.C. Senate, Sen. Dan Blue (D-Wake) has ascended to the role of president of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a role he also held 1998-1999. Created in 1975, the bipartisan NCSL offers support to state legislatures, shares policy experiences, and aims to maximize the voice of state legislatures on the federal level.

Blue again named president of national legislators' group
WRAL.com
A North Carolina lawmaker has again been named president of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Democratic Sen. Dan Blue of Raleigh this week was elevated to the position leading the bipartisan organization that provides research and technical assistance to state lawmakers across the country.
 
Lawmaker wants to make community college free for Nevada students
Las Vegas Review-Journal
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, if all of the other sources of financial aid combined do not cover the price of tuition in Tennessee, students there receive a Promise Scholarship for the remaining amount.
 
Betsy DeVos' position on guns in schools is not extreme
Washington Examiner
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 18 states ban carrying a concealed weapon on a college campus. There are 23 states that have devolved that decision to each college and university to make their own decision. Eight states allow concealed weapons to be carried on college campuses.
 
Amazon to begin collecting sales tax in Wyoming
Buffalo Bulletin
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that in 2014 Wyoming lost out on $61.7 million in sales tax revenues to catalog and online sellers that cannot collect sales taxes on purchases by Wyoming residents and businesses.
 
Mississippi governor calls on Legislature to create state lottery
Vicksburg Post
Mississippi is one of six states without a lottery, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Several proposals to create a lottery in the Bible Belt state have died during the past two decades, usually with little or no debate in the Legislature.
 
Ask the editor: Why does the Texas Legislature only meet every ...
Community Impact Newspaper
Texas is one of only four states—Montana, Nevada and North Dakota being the others—to not schedule a regular legislative session every year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Left in the Lurch: Democrats' Curious Decline
41 NBC News
Source: Carl Klarner, Paul Levande (xenocrypt.github.io), National Conference Of State Legislatures.
 
Iowa senator to introduce religious legislation
KIMT 3
According to the national conference on state legislatures, 21 states already have their own RFRA bills.

Jan. 18

Democrats, Donors Turn Focus to State Legislative Races
Roll Call
After 2016, the party controls only 30 state legislative bodies, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. Republicans control 66. 

Why Idaho legislative committees matter
Idaho Statesman
“Normally, you would want to address concerns about placement before the assignments are made,” said Brenda Erickson, with the National Conference of State Legislatures. According to Erickson, Idaho’s setup is similar to most states across the country. Three states – Alaska, Kentucky and Pennsylvania – have a separate committee decide who will be assigned to legislative panels.
 
What Wal-Mart's higher wages, better training mean for US retail
Christian Science Monitor
In 2017, 19 states began the new year with higher minimum wages. Five states (Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, and Washington) increased their rates through ballot initiatives, reports the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Tennessee bill requiring 'In God We Trust' on license plates generates controversy
Chattanooga Times Free Press
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states currently have made available plates that say "In God We Trust."
 
MLK III has 'constructive' voting rights talk with Trump
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, seven states have strict photo ID laws – voters lacking such identification can only cast provisional ballots – and eight have less-stringent photo ID requirements.
 
House GOP could consider leader term limits
Illinois News Network
National Conference of State Legislatures Program Director Wendy Underhill said without term limits on legislative leaders, it’s possible that a person elected from one district could amass more power than someone elected by an entire state. “It seems as though that makes the speaker a very powerful person, probably able to be as powerful as the governor,” Underhill said.
 
Proposal aims to close campaign donation loophole
Taosnews
The National Conference of State Legislatures in 2015 found that 29 states limit political contributions during legislative sessions. A total of 14 states only restricted donations from lobbyists.
 
As Trump takes office, job growth is pushing GOP governors to embrace renewables
Utility Dive
A total of 29 states and the District of Columbia now have RPS goals and another eight states have voluntary targets, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Legislator-911 dispatcher hopes to fix misdirected calls
EMS1.com
According to an April 2015 report from the National Conference of State Legislatures, the first phase focused on allowing emergency dispatchers to view a wireless caller's number and identify the cell tower nearest to the caller's phone. The second phase is supposed to increase the accuracy of the caller's location by providing their longitude and latitude.
 
From lawmaker to lobbyist. Should the state slow down the revolving ...
Bridge Michigan
Unlike Michigan, more than 30 states already have similar “cooling-off” measures in place, according to data from the National Conference on State Legislatures. Facing term limits, 38 lawmakers departed the Michigan House at the end of 2016. 

Jan. 17

Democrats, Donors Turn Focus to State Legislative Races
Roll Call
Obama’s tenure has been a disaster for state legislative Democrats. After 2016, the party controls only 30 state legislative bodies, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. Republicans control 66. 

Legislator-911 dispatcher hopes to fix misdirected calls
Washington Times
According to an April 2015 report from the National Conference of State Legislatures, the first phase focused on allowing emergency dispatchers to view a wireless caller’s number and identify the cell tower nearest to the caller’s phone. The second phase is supposed to increase the accuracy of the caller’s location by providing their longitude and latitude.

Trump's pick for Education secretary could put school vouchers back on the map
Los Angeles Times
As of 2017, only 14 states and Washington, D.C., had voucher programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. There are 61 programs at the state and district level, according to the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, a pro-voucher group. California has none.
 
Womack renews push so state taxes can tap Net sales
Arkansas Online
Max Behlke, manager of state-federal relations for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said legislators will face some difficult choices if Congress fails to act. "Every state that has a sales tax; this is a very big issue," he said.
 
Assembly visits Woodstown and Schalick high schools
NJ.com
The Assemblyman's visits were a part of the "Back to School" initiative sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislators and the New Jersey State Legislature.
 
Trump to meet with Martin Luther King III to discuss voting rights
Chron.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, seven states have strict photo ID laws -- voters lacking such identification can only cast provisional ballots - and eight have less stringent photo ID requirements.
 
New bill would allow Virginia school officials to pick employees to ...
SecurityInfoWatch
Before 2013, few -- if any -- states had laws that specifically allowed teachers and staff to carry weapons in schools, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At least eight states have since passed laws related to public school employees carrying guns on campus, the group said.
 
State legislator-911 dispatcher hopes to fix misdirected calls
Norwich Bulletin
According to an April 2015 report from the National Conference of State Legislatures, the first phase focused on allowing emergency dispatchers to view a wireless caller's number and identify the cell tower nearest to the caller's phone.
 
Donald Trump to meet with Martin Luther King III to discuss voting ...
NOLA.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, seven states have strict photo ID laws -- voters lacking such identification can only cast provisional ballots - and eight have less stringent photo ID requirements.
 
Virginia Lawmaker Pushes Arming School Officials
Fox 5 DC
The National Conference of State Legislatures says eights states have passed laws since 2013 allowing teachers and school staff to carry guns.

Religious freedom bill: Bold action or a big distraction?
Iowa City Press Citizen
According to the National Conference on State Legislatures, 21 states have enacted their own RFRA bills.

Jan. 16

Taxing Online Sales in Focus for National Task Force
Bloomberg BNA
Partnership audits and states’ continued efforts to collect more taxes on remote sales will be front and center Jan. 14 at a meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures Task Force on State and Local Taxation. An update on states’ remote sales tax collection will be one of the highlights of the task force meeting, Max Behlke, director of Budget and Tax Policy in the NCSL’s Washington D.C. Office, told Bloomberg BNA on Jan. 10. “Sixty-nine of the 99 state chambers across the country have Republican majorities, and they say they want more revenue but don’t want to raise taxes,” he said. Sales and use taxes that are due but not paid and remitted is one way to recoup lost revenue, but many states are considering more options.

Weekly Round-Up: Sales Taxes Still Topic of Major Discussion in 2017
Bloomberg BNA
Partnership audits and states’ continued efforts to collect more taxes on remote sales will be front and center Jan. 14 at a meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures Task Force on State and Local Taxation. Notice and reporting requirements for online retailers are expected to pop up in many states this year, as is a continued increase in measures challenging the 1992 Supreme Court ruling in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, which permits states to impose sales and use tax obligations only on vendors with an in-state physical presence.
 
How to Prevent Gift-Card Problems
Yahoo Finance
In some states, this problem doesn't exist. In California, for example, you can get back up to $10 in cash, and in Colorado you can get back up to $5. Find your state's gift-card laws at the National Conference of State Legislatures' website.  
 
Virginia lawmaker wants to let school boards pick employees to ...
Virginian-Pilot
Before 2013, few – if any – states had laws that specifically allowed teachers and staff to carry weapons in schools, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At least eight states have since passed laws related to public school employees carrying guns on campus, the group said.
 
Religious freedom bill: Bold action or a big distraction?
DesMoinesRegister.com
According to the National Conference on State Legislatures, 21 states have enacted their own RFRA bills.
 
Americans for the Arts Presents 2016 Public Leadership in the Arts ...
Satellite PR News
Americans for the Arts and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) today presented the Public Leadership in the Arts Award for State Arts Leadership to the four founding chairs of the Pennsylvania Legislative Arts & Culture Caucus
 
Immigration roils Virginia governor's race
San Diego Jewish World
A total of 12 states - including California, Colorado and Maryland - and the District of Columbia allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses, according to a breakdown of state laws from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
What LePage's tax plan would mean for you
Press Herald
At 10 percent, Maine’s lodging tax would be 1 percent higher than neighboring New Hampshire’s lodging tax and the third highest in the U.S., according to a 2016 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Students Sue BIE For School Conditions, Governor Calls for ...
KUNM
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than half of states archive and make available online floor proceedings and about half archive some or all committee proceedings for varying lengths of time.
 
Florida would become the slot machine capital under this proposal
Tampabay.com
Galvano, who last week became president of the National Conference of Legislators from Gaming States, said that in the past legislators have attempted to negotiate a comprehensive proposal only to have it get bogged down in "little industry fixes" as the competitive parimutuel industry struggled to compete with the Tribe's growing gaming empire.
 
Voice of The Southern: The case for leaders' term limits is obvious
The Southern
South Carolina’s Solomon Blatt is the longest known House speaker in U.S. history, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. He served a total of 33 years in that position, from 1937 to 1946 and 1951 to 1973.
 
Taxpayers footing more for lawmakers to travel
Sioux Falls Argus Leader
The question facing lawmakers is what benefit taxpayers receive by sending lawmakers to conferences sponsored by groups like the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments and the American Legislative Exchange Council.
 
New bill would allow Virginia school officials to pick employees to ...
Virginian-Pilo
Before 2013, few – if any – states had laws that specifically allowed teachers and staff to carry weapons in schools, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At least eight states have since passed laws related to public school employees carrying guns on campus, the group said.
 
Rediscovering The Tenth Amendment?
Tenth Amendment Center
So, I was pleasantly surprised to see this occur at a Washington House Education Committee meeting discussing the role of the federal government in education during a presentation by Lee Posey, federal affairs counsel for National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Lawmaker says he'll lend guns to Missouri Capitol visitors
SecurityInfoWatch
The new Capitol security measures were implemented at the request of Gov. Eric Greitens. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than half of state capitols across the country use metal detectors. In Kansas, Capitol visitors must pass through metal detectors but are still allowed to carry a concealed firearm.
 
Accountability and transparency with NC's school voucher program
Jefferson Post
Our voucher program is one of the least accountable and transparent when comparing program participation standards to that of other states in a document authored by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Jan. 13

Washington measure seeks expansion of wine growler law
The Seattle Times
Oregon currently has a law allowing growler purchases at wineries, but no other states have passed or proposed a bill that would extend the growler practice outside of wineries directly, according to Heather Morton, a policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

New Mexico gov calls for legislative meetings to be archived
San Francisco Chronicle
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than half of states archive and make available online floor proceedings and about half archive some or all committee proceedings for varying lengths of time.

Bill would eliminate daylight savings time in Michigan
WLNS
A similar bill was introduced last session, but did not pass. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 13 states were considering bills on the topic of daylight savings time in 2016. Hawaii and Arizona are the only states to not participate in Daylight Savings Time.
 
US Labor Department Awards $7.5M to Fund Research for Workers in Licensed Occupations
Whitehouse.gov
With this in mind, the U.S. Department of Labor today announced an award of $7.5 million to the National Conference of State Legislatures, or NCSL, for a project geared towards improving geographic mobility for workers in licensed occupations. NCSL will direct a coalition of 10 states working to achieve two primary goals:
 
Bill would eliminate daylight saving time in Michigan
MLive.com
A similar bill was introduced last session, but did not pass. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 13 states were considering bills on the topic of daylight savings time in 2016. Hawaii and Arizona are the only states to not participate in Daylight Savings Time.
 
Parkville Republican lawmaker says he'll lend guns to Missouri ...
Kansas City Star
The new Capitol security measures were implemented at the request of Gov. Eric Greitens. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than half of state capitols across the country use metal detectors. In Kansas, Capitol visitors must pass through metal detectors but are still allowed to carry a concealed firearm.
 
Parental 'opt out' of vaccinations getting criticism
Claremore Daily Progress
Oklahoma is one of 18 states that allows parents to opt out of immunizations for personal, moral or religious reasons, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Jan. 12

Republicans push to repeal state health care exchange in partisan start to 2017 session
The Denver Post
The GOP retained a one-seat Senate majority, 18 to 17, in the November election. Colorado is only one of seven states with a partisan split legislature, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures.

What Happens to the Democratic Party After Obama?
The Atlantic
Obama lost fewer governorships than presidents’ parties surrendered under Kennedy and Johnson (15) and the Nixon and Ford administrations (13)—and lost more than under Eisenhower, Clinton, and Bush (nine each). Only in lost state legislative seats (850) did Obama significantly exceed any of these predecessors, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Republicans push to repeal Colorado health care exchange in partisan start to 2017 session
The Daily Camera
The GOP retained a one-seat Senate majority, 18 to 17, in the November election. Colorado is only one of seven states with a partisan split legislature, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Higher ed leaders muted in response to Texas bathroom bill
Inside Higher Ed
The Texas legislation is one of several such bathroom bills introduced in state legislatures. Legislation creating restrictions to restroom access based on biological sex or sex assigned at birth has been introduced in eight states in 2017, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Washington state proposal seeks expansion of wine refill law
Kitsap Sun
Oregon currently has a law allowing growler purchases at wineries, but no other states have passed or proposed a bill that would extend the growler practice outside of wineries directly, according to Heather Morton, a policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
States Where Lawmakers Earn Well Above — or Below — Average
Yahoo Sports
In 30 states, lawmakers earn less than $30,000 a year, according to the NPR report, which cites data from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

Poker Lobby Responds To AG Nominee's Bewildering Position On Internet Poker
CardPlayer.com
According to the PPA, groups supporting a state’s right to regulate online gaming include the American Conservative Union, Americans for Tax Reform, Campaign for Liberty, Center for Individual Freedom, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Fraternal Order of Police, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Governors Association and Taxpayers Protection Alliance.
 
Poker Players Alliance urges review of RAWA
Casino City Times
"Countless organizations agree that states should be able to regulate online gaming – regulation that provides robust consumer protections. Support for the 2011 interpretation includes: The American Conservative Union; Americans for Tax Reform; Campaign for Liberty; Center for Individual Freedom; Competitive Enterprise Institute; Fraternal Order of Police; National Conference of State Legislatures; National Governors Association; Ron Paul Institute; and Taxpayers Protection Alliance.
 
Parental 'opt out' of vaccines getting renewed criticism
Tahlequah Daily Press
Oklahoma is one of 18 states that allows parents to opt out of immunizations for personal, moral or religious reasons, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Americans for the Arts Presents 2016 Public Leadership in the Arts ...
Military Technologies
Americans for the Arts and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) today presented the Public Leadership in the Arts Award for State Arts Leadership to the four founding chairs of the Pennsylvania Legislative Arts & Culture Caucus—Sen. Patrick Browne (R-16, representing part of Lehigh County), Sen. Jay Costa (D-43 representing part of Allegheny County), Rep. Tim Briggs (D-149, representing part of Montgomery County), and Rep. Stan Saylor (R-94, representing part of York County). The annual award was presented at the NCSL Fall Forum in Washington, DC, and honors public officials who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the advancement of the arts at the state level. 
 
EDITORIAL: Public-sector lobbying in Carson City just incestuous ...
Las Vegas Review-Journal
The National Conference of State Legislatures notes that 14 states impose some restrictions on using public funds for lobbying efforts. With the abundance of incestuous back-slapping going on in the capitol between lawmakers and government lobbyists, it’s no surprise that Nevada isn’t one of them.
 
Legislators to reject pay hikes for top officials
Delaware State News
While direct comparisons for legislators can be difficult due to varying lengths of session and per diem allowances, data from the National Conference of State Legislatures suggest Delaware’s lawmakers make more than legislators in 36 states before expenses and other benefits are counted.
 
No new common-law marriages in Alabama
Dothan Eagle
With Alabama’s departure from allowing new common-law marriages, only nine states are left that will allow such unions to be created, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Jan. 11

Illinois poised to require lead testing in schools, day care centers
Chicago Tribune
More than 20 states debated school testing legislation last year after the water crisis in Flint, Mich., drew renewed national attention to the widespread use of lead plumbing in older buildings. Only New York and Rhode Island enacted new laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
GOP expected to take aim at local tax deductions
The Hill
Max Behlke, director of budget and tax policy at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said states with high income taxes are “very weary” about the deduction being eliminated. If the deduction is eliminated, the states could face pressure to lower their taxes. It’s “definitely possible” that Trump could be sympathetic to keeping the deduction because he’s from a state with a high income tax. However, Trump may defer to Congress on taxes, Behlke said.
 
With newest bathroom bill, a Texas-size clash of conservative values
Yahoo Finance
Yet bathroom bills have been filed in eight states this year, including Texas, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Will Trump Administration Seek to Weaken Vaccine Requirements?
Education Week
" Almost all states grant religious exemptions for people who have religious beliefs against immunizations," according to the National Conference of State Legislators. "Currently, 18 states allow philosophical exemptions for those who object to immunizations because of personal, moral or other beliefs."
 
Fight over right-to-work begins anew, but with more favorable odds
Concord Monitor
The fight has proven divisive in other states, like Wisconsin, where Republican Gov. Scott Walker faced a recall election in 2012 after signing a law that cut most collective bargaining rights for public employees. Half the country has right-to-work laws in place, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. If passed here, New Hampshire would be the first state in New England to put the policy on its books.
 
HHS Secretary warns of damage from potential ACA repeal
JURIST
The National Conference of State Legislatures [official website] reports that between 2010 and 2015, at least 21 states have enacted laws attempting to challenge or completely opt out of mandatory provisions of the ACA. Most recently the ACA was amended by the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees Act [text], which allows states to consider employers with 51 to 100 employees as large employers, removing certain restrictions on small employers from those employers in this category.
 
To combat sexual harassment, Tennessee lawmakers required to ...
The Tennessean
Ridley said the state entered a one-year contract valued at $1,295 with ATS Media, a Chicago-based company. The firm was recommended by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Tennessee Members Introduce Bill to Name Nashville Courthouse ...
The knoxville focus
I was present when the National Conference of State Legislatures awarded him the Restoring the Balance Award for his dedication to federalism.
 
Most 3rd-graders not meeting reading standards still advance
Education Week
The state requires that parents receive a "retention letter" and sign a waiver for ... do not require it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Lawmakers get boost in pay as new legislative session begins
The Daily News of Newburyport
The pay hikes keep Bay State lawmakers among the country’s highest paid. California pays its legislators $100,000 a year, Pennsylvania pays $85,339 a year, and New York pays $79,500, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Jan. 10

Nuclear Plants Fall Victim to Economic Pressures
Wall Street Journal
Kristine Hartman, who tracks energy laws for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said she expects Arizona, New Jersey and New Mexico to consider modifying laws that encourage wind and solar to include nuclear as a power source free of greenhouse-gas emissions.
 
Low Pay In State Legislatures Means Some Can't Afford The Job
NPR
According to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, 30 states pay $30,000 a year or less to legislators. New Mexico doesn't pay lawmakers at all, while those in New Hampshire make just $200 per two-year term. State legislators’ salaries are difficult to compare to each other due to vast differences in the way states pay their legislators and the amount of time they spend in session. The National Conference of State Legislatures groups states into three categories based on the time legislators spend working, the amount of compensation and the size of legislative staff. Most states also provide a session per diem on top of the salaries below.

New fronts open in fight over bathroom bills
The Hill
At least 24 states have considered bathroom bills over the past four years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
UI, ISU, UNI student leaders challenge voter ID proposal
Iowa City Press Citizen
A total of 32 states had laws in 2016 that request or require voters to show some form of identification at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Other states use other methods to verify the identity of voters. Most frequently, other identifying information provided at the polling place, such as a signature, is checked against information on file, officials said.
 
Seitz: The case against clean energy mandates
Cincinnati.com
Tomain is simply inaccurate in claiming that over 40 states have these mandates. In fact, only 29 do, according to a 2016 report by the National Conference of State Legislators. Significantly, three of Ohio’s neighbors do not have these mandates – Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia. In all three states electric rates are lower than in Ohio. 
 
Lawmaker Wants To Raise Indiana Age Of Consent
Eagle 99.3 FM WSCH
Currently, Indiana and most states, including Ohio and Kentucky, allow 16-year-olds to consent to sexual intercourse, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
How did Fort Lauderdale airport shooting suspect get gun back?
7News - WSVN-TV
In Maryland, a person may not possess a regulated firearm if the person suffers from a mental disorder or “has a history of violent behavior” against other persons, according to the Washington, D.C.-based National Conference of State Legislatures.

Jan. 9

How did Fort Lauderdale suspect get gun back?
CNN
In Maryland, a person may not possess a regulated firearm if the person suffers from a mental disorder or "has a history of violent behavior" against other persons, according to the Washington, D.C.-based National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Low Pay In State Legislatures Means Some Can't Afford The Job
NPR
According to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, 30 states pay $30,000 a year or less to legislators. New Mexico doesn't pay lawmakers at at all while those in New Hampshire make just $200 per two year term.
 
First days of 2017 bring new ‘bathroom bills’
CNN
Since 2013, at least 24 states have considered restricting access to restrooms, locker rooms and other facilities on the basis of biological sex, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
What went wrong? Dem. Party contestants to face tough questions
USA TODAY
The party faces significant challenges in the effort to revamp its leadership and re-energize its base. In addition to taking the White House, Republicans now control a record 67 of the 98 state legislative chambers, more than at any other time in the history of the Republican Party, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Police laud license plate cameras, critics question use
Chicago Tribune
Twelve states now have passed legislation regulating the use of license plate readers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Why Texas and Virginia 'bathroom bills' face an uphill climb
Yahoo News
Despite the growing list of states where emboldened Republicans are putting forward similar bills, many face strong headwinds, pointing to the polarized stagnation on such issues. Virginia and Kentucky have introduced bills, while Washington, Alabama, Missouri, and South Dakota are pondering some version of bathroom laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Report: Any less than $700 million hike in yearly road, bridge funds just ‘nibbling around edges’ of problem
Lake Expo
Louisiana has the sixth oldest gasoline tax in the nation, according to a survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Texas Has Introduced A Bathroom Bill Similar To North Carolina's
Newsy
Despite the fallout in North Carolina, the Texas bill appears to be moving forward. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, other states also have similar legislation in the works.
 
Ohio State Concealed Carry Activist Shot Dead Near Campus
Slate Magazine
Per the National Conference of State Legislatures, concealed weapons are allowed on campuses by state law in Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin. On Dec. 19, 2016, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed the law that Underiner had testified in favor of, which permits institutions of higher learning in Ohio to allow concealed weapons on their campuses if their trustees vote to do so.
 
Bathrooms a new battleground in US transgender rights debate
Irish Times
Despite the controversy, “bathroom Bills” have become a favourite cause of conservative Christian lawmakers. Six other states have introduced or pre-filed Bills restricting access to facilities based for their 2017 legislative sessions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures: Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington.

Americans for the Arts Presents 2016 Public Leadership in the Arts ...
Military Technologies
Americans for the Arts and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) today presented the Public Leadership in the Arts Award for State Arts Leadership to the four founding chairs of the Pennsylvania Legislative Arts & Culture Caucus
 
Accountability from pesticide companies is sought
Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Although some states have tried to ban glyphosate, none have succeeded, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
These States Are Raising the Minimum Wage in the New Year
ATTN
Bills passed before 2017 will raise minimum wages in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Oregon on July 1, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Cuomo proposes early voting, voter registration changes to improve ...
Auburn Citizen
Most states have some form of early voting system in place. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 37 states and the District of Columbia allow early voting. 
     
State lawmakers consider raising age of consent to 18
Indianapolis Star
If the bill passes, Indiana would join about 11 other states in having the oldest age of consent in the country. The laws in most states — including Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky — allow 16-year-olds to consent to sexual intercourse, according to data rovided by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Illinois' age of consent is 17.
 
Nebraska Medical Cannabis Initiative For 2017
Weed News
Twenty-eight states and D.C. offer comprehensive medical cannabis programs while 15 others allow people with certain conditions to use a form of the plant low in THC, the compound that produces the high, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
     
Capitol Buzz column for Sunday 1/8/17
The Advocate
The National Conference of State Legislatures recently tallied how many members of the U.S. House and Senate were once state lawmakers. The answer: just under 50 percent — 266 of the 535 voting members in both chambers combined.
 
ICYMI: Georgia Gas Taxes Edge Up In 2017
Patch.com
In 2015, the General Assembly increased the per-gallon tax on motor fuel from 7.5 cents to 26 cents for gasoline and 29 cents for diesel, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Jan. 6

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Lays Out Controversial Bathroom Bill
Wall Street Journal
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, lawmakers in six other states aside from Texas—Alabama, Missouri, South Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky and Washington—have pre-filed or introduced legislation that would base access to bathrooms and locker rooms on  birth gender. 

Despite Fallout in North Carolina, 6 States File 'Bathroom Bills' of Their Own
Governing
Despite the controversy, “bathroom bills” have become a favourite cause of conservative Christian lawmakers. Six other states have introduced or pre-filed bills restricting access to facilities based for their 2017 legislative sessions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures: Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington.

Despite furor in North Carolina, six states plan 'bathroom bills' of ...
The Guardian
Despite the controversy, “bathroom bills” have become a favourite cause of conservative Christian lawmakers. Six other states have introduced or pre-filed bills restricting access to facilities based for their 2017 legislative sessions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures: Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington.

The Democratic Party Faces a Daunting Future
The Atlantic
For now, however, the outlook is grim for Democrats. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Republicans have control of both state houses as well as the governor's mansion in twenty four states, while Democrats have total control in only seven states in the wake of the 2016 elections.

Will school choice bills gain traction at the Statehouse?
Idaho EdNews
Still, her nomination has had something of a trickle-down effect in statehouses from Virginia to Kentucky to Texas. “There’s an energy within the school choice community where they’ll be pushing a lot of legislation around the country,” Josh Cunningham, a senior education policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures, told POLITICO.com.

Metal detectors, and firearms ban, returning to the Missouri Capitol
KRCU
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of 2015, at least 28 state capitols had metal detectors.

Lack of diversity in Georgia's legislature
Better Georgia
The National Conference of State Legislatures found that African Americans only make up about 9 percent of national state legislatures although they make up about 13 percent of the national population. Hispanics make up about 5 percent of state legislatures although they make up about 17 percent of the population.

Bill would expand automatic restoration of voting rights to some felons
Wyoming Tribune
Two states – Maine and Vermont – never take away a felon’s right to vote, while 13 states and the District of Columbia remove the right only while the felon is incarcerated, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Hawaii residents renew push for stricter pesticide rules
Hawaii Tribune Herald
Although some states have tried to ban glyphosate, none have succeeded, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Armed for 2017: New State Gun Laws Shrink 'Gun-Free Zones ...
AlterNet
Ohio is increasing the number of places where concealed carriers can legally carry.  According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Ohio and 23 other states allow some form of campus carry.

Jan. 5

The Ideological Reasons Why Democrats Have Neglected Local Politics
Yahoo News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the party controls roughly half as many state legislatures as it did in 2010, and roughly half as many states will enter 2017 with a partisan split compared to the same year.
 
Metal detectors, and firearms ban, returning to the Missouri Capitol
St. Louis Public Radio
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of 2015, at least 28 state capitols had metal detectors.
 
National briefs: Imprisoned Manson taken to hospital
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Illinois measure appears to be the first of its kind in the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Lawmakers to push hemp law again
Santa Fe New Mexican
New Mexico is one of only 20 states that have not passed legislation allowing hemp cultivation for commercial, research or pilot programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures website.
 
Second day of Legislature provided 'law school' for legislators
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Montana is one of five states with traditional citizen legislatures.
 
Hawaii Residents Renew Push for Stricter Pesticide Rules
Laboratory Equipment
Although some states have tried to ban glyphosate, none have succeeded, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Armed for 2017: New state gun laws shrink “gun-free zones ...
Salon
Ohio is increasing the number of places where concealed carriers can legally carry.  According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Ohio and 23 other states allow some form of campus carry.
 
NEW: Rep. Nardolillo to Propose Legislation Reinstating E-Verify
GoLocalProv
According to a statement issued by Nardolillo, the National Conference of State Legislatures, in 2012, eight states enacted legislation related to E-Verify: Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and West Virginia. 
  
Mattiello pledges tax cuts as '17 legislative session convenes
The Westerly Sun
Republicans made gains in statehouses around the country during the November election and now have total control over 24 state governments, while Democrats have just five, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Besides Rhode Island and Hawaii, the other states where Democrats control both legislative chambers and the governor’s office are California, Delaware and Oregon.

Jan. 4

Medicaid, Minimum Wage and Marijuana Chief Among State Legislative Issues
NPR - All Things Considered
William Pound from the National Conference of State Legislatures gives an overview on the upcoming legislative decisions regarding minimum wage and medical and recreational marijuana.

In Trump’s America, GOP States Proceed Cautiously Optimistic
Governing
“There’s a good likelihood that there can be a transfer to the states, more than there would have been under divided government,” says Bill Pound, executive director of the National Conference of State Legislatures. “Congress will say you can keep those provisions, but you’ve got to pay for them.”

The Democrats’ Geography Problem
Governing
When Republicans won control of the Minnesota House in 2014, nearly all their victories came outside of the Twin Cities area. In November, the GOP’s strength in the rest of the state allowed the party to capture the state Senate as well. “I had one of the Minnesota leaders tell me a year ago that the House Democrats had gotten too Twin Cities-oriented,” says Bill Pound, executive director of the National Conference of State Legislatures. “That’s why they were in the minority and that was the danger to their Senate majority.”

Democratic majority grows in new Rhode Island legislature
Washington Times
Democrat-led state governments are becoming increasingly rare as Republican President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office this month. Republicans made gains in statehouses around the country during the November election and now have total control over 24 state governments, while Democrats have just five, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Besides Rhode Island and Hawaii, the other states where Democrats control both legislative chambers and the governor’s office are California, Delaware and Oregon.

The Ideological Reasons Why Democrats Have Neglected Local Politics
The Atlantic
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the party controls roughly half as many state legislatures as it did in 2010, and roughly half as many states will enter 2017 with a partisan split compared to the same year. Similarly, Democrats have been losing governships steadily since Obama took office in 2008: Compared to the 29 states held by Democrats that year, the party now holds 16.

Latina Elected Officials Make History in States like Colorado, Illinois
NBCNews.com
Colorado has the highest percentage of women legislators of all the states — 42 percent. According to the National Conference of State Legislators, 24 percent of state legislators nationwide are women, and of those, 22 percent are women of color. Since 1971, the number of women serving in state legislatures (both Assembly/House and Senate) has quintupled.

General Assembly Convenes Wednesday Under New Reality
Hartford Courant
Nationally, tied legislative chambers are not unprecedented. It has happened at least 40 times since 1970, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That includes four times in the 20-member Senate in Alaska since 1970, and three times in either the House or Senate since 1995 in Virginia.

Oldest is 83, youngest is 27, and other facts about the 2017-18 Pa. Legislature
PennLive.com
Between the House's 40 women and the Senate's seven, Pennsylvania has the 12th lowest percentage of females in its General Assembly with 18.6 percent. Only Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wyoming have a lower percentage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Illinois, Nebraska, and Nevada Join Others to Expand Personal ...
The National Law Review
[1] For a listing of the data breach notification statutes, see National Conference of State Legislatures, Secuity Breach Notification Laws.

Winners and losers of the biggest state political battles of 2016
MyPalmBeachPost
Of the 7,383 lawmaker positions, just 1,277 will be new lawmakers in 2017, said William Pound, the executive director of the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, in a post-election webinar. Pound said that's a 17 percent turnover rate - "a tad on the low side" for the average.

House Bill 62 would give immunity for reporting overdoses
Wyoming Tribune
Thirty-seven states – including Colorado and Utah – and the District of Columbia already have similar laws, sometimes known as “Good Samaritan” or “911 drug immunity” laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Illinois law enlists hairstylists to prevent domestic abuse
Columbia Daily Tribune
Instead, the training provides beauty professionals with information about local help and resources they can share with clients. The Illinois measure appears to be the first of its kind in the country, the National Conference of State Legislatures said.

Hawaii residents renew push for stricter pesticide rules
Thegardenisland.com
Although some states have tried to ban glyphosate, none have succeeded, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Georgia Gas Taxes Edge Up In 2017
Patch.com
In 2015, the General Assembly increased the per-gallon tax on motor fuel from 7.5 cents to 26 cents for gasoline and 29 cents for diesel, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

US Has Few Rules of the Road for Self-Driving Cars
Techwire.net
California has among the most stringent regulations for self-driving cars. A company must prove it has $5 million in insurance and that all test drivers are trained, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Companies must also submit detailed reports on traffic accidents and violations.

Jan. 3

Four things to know from Business
The Boston Globe
The law does not require them to report violence. But the training provides beauty professionals with information about resources to share with clients. The measure appears to be the first of its kind in the country, the National Conference of State Legislatures says.

Illinois Hairstylist Joins Effort to Save Lives, End Domestic Violence
CBN News
The measure, which will take effect on Sunday, is the first of its kind in the nation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Unlike Our Cars, US Policy Can't Drive Itself
Government Technology
California has among the most stringent regulations for self-driving cars. A company must prove it has $5 million in insurance and that all test drivers are trained, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Companies must also submit detailed reports on traffic accidents and violations.

Ohio preparing for online voter registration
Toledo Blade
Other states have experienced a similar cost savings in processing registrations, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Pay to rise for millions as 19 states increase minimum wage
Henderson State University News
Of the increases, 19 are effective at the start of the year and two will take place on July 1, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.

raw milk vending machines
Food Safety News
The bipartisan National Conference of State Legislature (NLCS) says No. 3 on its Top 10 climate-setting trends for 2017 is “Regulations on Review.”   “Rules and regulations at all levels of government are on the hot seat,” says the Denver-based NLCS. “State legislators will be busy in several policy areas deciding what needs to be regulated…

From guns to abortion, Ohio lawmakers passed more than 50 bills in 6 days
Springfield News Sun
The Ohio General Assembly is among nine state legislatures considered to be full-time and is among 12 states without constitutional limits on the length of their regular sessions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Some Pennsylvania farmers to grow industrial hemp
Allentown Morning Call
Farmers can grow industrial hemp for commercial purposes in at least 16 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

There's some really good news for low-wage workers this weekend
Standard-Examiner
As a result, the minimum wage will increase in 19 states as 2016 comes to a close, according to figures compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Two more states and the District of Columbia will raise the minimum later in the new year.

Lawmakers Plan To Rein In Weaponized Drones
Connecticut Watchdog
Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, Wisconsin, Maine, North Dakota and Virginia have laws addressing weaponization of drones, said Amanda Essex, a policy associate at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

1-sentence draft bills criticized for lack of transparency
New Jersey Herald
The National Conference of State Legislatures criticized such skeleton bills decades ago and in 1996 identified a dozen or so states that allowed such drafts. Last December, Nevada's Senate adopted a temporary rule prohibiting skeleton bills.

Facing a $900 million shortfall, Nebraska lawmakers must decide ...
Kwbe
The National Conference of State Legislatures in 2012 estimated the state lost $118 million a year in uncollected Internet and catalog sales tax, though the Nebraska Department of Revenue estimated the loss at $45 million.