NCSL in the News | January 2019

1/1/2019

Jan. 31

Debating avoidance
Politico
States brought in $847.1 million more in sales and use taxes last year, after the Supreme Court rolled back restrictions on states’ ability to tax out-of-state online retailers halfway through the year, the National Conference on State Legislatures says in a new report. The NCSL report says that the increase is “primarily” due to states having the ability to expand sales tax bases because of the Wayfair decision.
 
Census Prep Vital to States' Power — Why Some Could Miss Out
The Pew Charitable Trusts
“Now is the time to do it,” said Wendy Underhill, who monitors state census preparations for the National Conference of State Legislatures. “Most states are on board, and I think the rest are considering it, especially these states that are on the cusp” of losing or gaining seats.

Lawmakers seek to end penalties for youth in prostitution
The State
A National Conference of State Legislatures review shows most states in 2016 approved bills to address human trafficking among youth. The laws typically are referred to as "safe-harbor laws."
 
Gov. Wolf seeks increase in Pa.’s minimum wage. Again.
Philadelphia Inquirer
That includes all of Pennsylvania’s surrounding states, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Some states allow parents to get out of vaccinations. Then this happens.
KRON 4
All states require immunizations for children to attend school. Forty-seven states -- all but California, Mississippi and West Virginia -- allow parents to opt out of vaccines if they have religious beliefs against immunizations, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Jan. 30

Measles outbreak shows Legislature should limit vaccine exemptions
The Seattle Times
Washington is one of only 18 states that lets parents opt out of having their child vaccinated because of personal, moral or other beliefs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The high rate of people taking advantage of this philosophical exemption in certain areas is detrimental to the health of their communities.

Some states allow parents to get out of vaccinations. Then this happens 
CNN
All states require immunizations for children to attend school. Forty-seven states -- all but California, Mississippi and West Virginia -- allow parents to opt out of vaccines if they have religious beliefs against immunizations, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Texas lawmakers get a $4300 raise before taking a single vote in 86th session
San Antonio Express-News
Sen. Bryan Hughes, a Mineola Republican who chairs Senate Committee on Administration, said the change reflects the 2019 IRS rate for meals and lodging in Austin. The per diem, in certain circumstances, could now be taxable under new federal tax law, according the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Illinois General Assembly has more women legislators
The State in Columbia, SC
Illinois is 11th in the U.S. for the percent of women in a state Legislature, with about 36 percent of the Legislature being women, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nevada leads the nation with nearly 51 percent of legislative seats filled by women, while West Virginia has the lowest ratio of women with 14 percent.

North Dakota lawmakers question limits in 'stand your ground' bill
West Central Tribune
At least 25 states have "stand your ground" laws relating to self-defense with no duty to retreat, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Florida's law became a flash point of the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012.

Jan. 29

All the states that have decriminalized marijuana and what that means
Business Insider
However, they may be required to pay a fine and are generally considered to have committed a civil offense or minor misdemeanor, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
A First in Over a Century: Only One State Has a Split Legislature
The New York Times
“We are in a time when there is a lot of division in our politics, and the divisions are along social, economic and geographic lines,” said William T. Pound, executive director of the National Conference of State Legislatures, a group that serves members of legislatures.
 
Police sketch shows suspected shooter in drug robbery slaying of former Highland Park student
The Dallas Morning News
Thirty-three states and Washington, D.C., have passed laws allowing the medical use of marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Sen. Mimi Stewart Appointed To National Conference Of State Legislatures National Education Committee
LA Daily Post
Sen. Mimi Stewart has been appointed to serve as a national vice-chair of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) Education Committee.
 
Expanded safeguards for Indiana elections may require new funding sources
Washington Times Herald
Unlike traditional post-election audits, risk limiting audits are designed to provide strong statistical evidence as to why an election outcome is correct or incorrect. Current law requires Indiana to conduct standard audits if the number of votes cast on an electronic voting system substantially differ from the number of voters in the poll book, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Jan. 28

Lawsuits Challenge New Jersey’s Workplace Confidentiality Rule
Wall Street Journal
Lawmakers in more than a dozen states, including New Jersey, introduced legislation last year aimed at restricting employers’ use of nondisclosure agreements in discrimination of sexual harassment cases, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
To protect your personal data, should Washington state restrict facial recognition and adopt European-style privacy laws?
The Seattle Times
Only one state — California — has passed a data-privacy law similar to the European standard, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, although New Jersey, New Mexico and New York are considering proposals.
 
Does Working More Days Make State Legislatures More Effective?
WNPR News
But state lawmakers' jobs aren't considered part-time either, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Illinois General Assembly has more women legislators
WGEM
The National Conference of State Legislatures says Illinois is 11th in the U.S. for the percentage of women in a state Legislature, with about 36 percent of the Legislature being women. 

Legislature should limit vaccine exemptions
Seattle Times
Washington is one of only 18 states that lets parents opt out of having their child vaccinated because of personal, moral or other beliefs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The high rate of people taking advantage of this philosophical exemption in certain areas is detrimental to the health of their communities.

Jan. 25

New York lawmakers just passed their own 'DREAM Act'
CNN
Lawmakers in 16 states, including New York, have enacted laws allowing undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.
 
The Latest: New Mexico lawmakers review felon-voting measure
Miami Herald
The National Conference of State Legislatures says convicted felons' voting rights in New Mexico currently are restored after they've completed their sentence, parole or period of probation.
 
State opens door for hemp farming
Meadville Tribune
Ohio and New Jersey are among the states that have no state laws allowing for hemp production, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
State lags in women in Legislature
Half Moon Bay Review
It lags 19 states, including its other regional neighbors Arizona, Oregon and Washington, not to mention New York and Colorado, according to the latest count by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Jan. 24

Charter Debates Could Be Coming to State Legislatures
Education Week
Last year, 86 bills concerning charters were enacted in 27 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
New Mexico lawmakers review felon-voting rights proposal
The Virginian-Pilot
The National Conference of State Legislatures says convicted felons' voting rights in New Mexico currently are restored after they've completed their sentence, parole or period of probation.
 
Panel approves raising minimum wage to $10
Albuquerque Journal
Colorado now has a $11.10 hourly minimum wage, and Arizona’s minimum wage is $11 an hour, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Percentage of women in Illinois General Assembly inches up
The State Journal-Register
That places Illinois 11th in the nation for the percentage of women in its state legislature, according to numbers compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Proposed Legislation Would Require Supermajority To Approve Tax Hikes
MTPR
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, eight other states require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to create or increase certain taxes.

Jan. 23

CBS Rejects Medical Marijuana Super Bowl Ad
U.S. News & World Report
Thirty-three states, along with the District of Columbia, have approved comprehensive medical marijuana programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but it remains illegal in recreational and medical forms on the federal level.
 
New York Plans Vote on Abortion Bill on Roe v. Wade Anniversary
Wall Street Journal
NCSL Information Cited. 
 
Cannabis reform no laughing matter for Oakland Rep. Barbara Lee
San Francisco Chronicle
California is one of nine states plus the District of Columbia that have legalized at least small amounts of marijuana for recreational use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Some police departments dump bodycam programs amid high costs
Houston Chronicle
At the time, at least seven other states had similar storage laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Now, at least 14 states have passed laws that set storage requirements.
 
Speaking with the Speaker: Haahr explains 2019 priorities
KRCG 13
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield is the youngest, at 30. Haahr has represented Springfield since he was first elected in November 2012.

Jan. 22

Some US police departments dump body-camera programs amid high costs
Washington Post
At the time, at least seven other states had similar storage laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Now, at least 14 states have passed laws that set storage requirements.

Democrats say no excuse for Missouri’s failure to offer excuse-free absentee voting
Kansas City Star
Missouri is one of a dozen states that offers neither no-excuse absentee voting or any other form of early balloting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  
 
As states lag on cyber training, agencies are fertile phishing grounds
Finger Lakes Times
Unlike lots of companies, many states don't require training for every staffer, although nearly every state offers it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

Jan. 18

Lee: Capitol gun ban to remain in place
Miami Herald
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 26 states ban civilian guns from being carried at their capitols.

As States Lag on Cyber Training, Agencies Are Fertile Phishing Grounds
Governing
Unlike lots of companies, many states don’t require training for every staffer, although nearly every state offers it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

North Dakota House votes to repeal Sunday shopping ban
Miami Herald
The National Conference of State Legislatures says North Dakota is the only state that prohibits shopping on Sunday morning.

Free health clinic at Martin University
Indianapolis Recorder
Still, insurance providers have backed out in Indiana, and data from the National Conference of State Legislatures show the average premium cost rising 5.1 percent in 2019 on the ACA market.

Doctor gave near-death patients excessive pain meds
The Steubenville Herald-Star
Five states — California, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and Colorado — allow the practice, and 20 have considered but not passed legislation to do so, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.

Scott, Sununu Propose Joint Family Leave Plan
Valley News
The National Conference of State Legislatures says that only four states — California, New Jersey, Rhode Island and New York — offer paid family and medical leave.

Legislation to legalize, decriminalize marijuana in Virginia fails
WTKR News 3
Ten states, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized the sale of Marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Jan. 17

Ohio's First Medical Marijuana Sales
U.S. News & World Report
Gov. John Kasich signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana throughout the state in 2016, making Ohio one of the 33 states that, along with the District of Columbia, have approved comprehensive medical marijuana programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Physician gave 27 near-death patients 'potentially fatal' pain meds, hospital says
USA Today
Five states – California, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and Colorado – allow physician-assisted deaths, and 20 have considered but not passed legislation, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Allowing Concealed Weapons On Campus Is Not The Solution To Campus Sexual Assault
Forbes
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures: “Because of  recent state legislation and court rulings, 10 states now have provisions allowing the carrying of concealed weapons on public postsecondary campuses.”

Red-flag law in Maryland led to gun seizures from 148 people in first three months
Washington Post
Dozens of other states in the past two years have considered red-flag bills, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The D.C. Council approved a similar law last month.

NJ governor calls for expansion of voting rights
The Hill
The remaining states require a waiting period before felons are allowed to reregister, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Wayfair, Overhaul Helped Drive 2018 State Tax Changes: NCSL
Law360
State-level tax changes for 2018 were heavily influenced by federal developments including the Wayfair decision and the 2017 tax overhaul, the National Conference of State Legislatures has said in a report.

Warrenton becomes latest Missouri school district to change to four-day school weeks
Houston Today
Nationwide, about 560 school districts in 25 states have at least one school on a four-day schedule, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan resource and research group.
 
Area legislators to work on marijuana, liquor, redistricting and school funding this year
Asheville Citizen-Times
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, North Carolina currently limits medical marijuana use to those with intractable epilepsy.

Virginia lawmakers renew push to ban holding a phone while driving
The Roanoke Times
At least 16 states have similar handheld phone bans on the books, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.

New legislator from Bow is part of diverse wave in Olympia
The Bellingham Herald
Now, roughly 40 percent of Washington legislators are women, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Connecticut Democrats Prioritize Early Voting
NBC Connecticut
There are 38 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, that offer some kind of early voting, but Connecticut is not one of them.

Jan. 16

Washington’s Legislature this year looks more like the people it serves
Seattle Times
And that surge has boosted their numbers. Now, roughly 40 percent of Washington legislators are women, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Youth solitary confinement continues despite ongoing criticism
Fox News
In the past decade, Colorado, Delaware, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, and Texas have passed legislation that either drastically restricts solitary confinement in state prisons, or orders a comprehensive study on potential reforms, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Gov. Kim Reynolds to propose constitutional amendment lifting felon voting ban in Condition of the State
Des Moines Register
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 38 states and Washington, D.C., automatically restore the voting rights of convicted felons or, as in Maine and Vermont, never take them away.

Medical marijuana bill: South Carolina lawmakers try again
Charlotte Observer
A total of 33 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico allow some type of medical cannabis program, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Your Voice Your Future - The Opioid Crisis with Eric Bolling
NBC 16
Sen. Jim Davis (R-Macon) – Sen. Davis was just chosen as a National Conference of State Legislatures Opioid Policy Fellow for 2019

Lawmakers, advocates push for paid family medical leave for Virginia families
WTVR CBS 6
Four states have paid family leave programs already, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).  Washington D.C. and Washington state are both in the process of implementing a plan, NCSL said.

Jan. 15

New York government will mark a Martin Luther King Day milestone
New York Post
According to the National Conference of Legislatures, Nevada has the only other state Legislature led by two black people: Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson and Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson.

How Iowa can fix its 'anti-democratic' felon voter ban? Critics say end it; governor willing to listen
Des Moines Register
Thirty-eight states and Washington, D.C., automatically restore the voting rights of convicted felons or — in Maine and Vermont — never take them away, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a group dedicated to assisting state legislatures.

Lawmakers push for Georgia-grown hemp
Valdosta Daily Times
Already, about 40 states have passed laws that allow some form of cultivation or production, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Medical marijuana bill: South Carolina lawmakers try again
The Charlotte Observer
NCSL Information Cited.

Even before first product is dispensed, North Dakota lawmakers examine medical marijuana changes
The Dickinson Press
Almost three dozen states and the District of Columbia have approved “comprehensive public medical marijuana/cannabis programs,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Lawmakers, advocates push for paid family medical leave for Virginia families
WTVR CBS 6 News
Four states have paid family leave programs already, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).  Washington D.C. and Washington state are both in the process of implementing a plan, NCSL said.

Jan. 10

Election analyst says GOP-leaning independents could help 2020 Dems
The Hill
Fifteen states have open primaries, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

After 242 years, a woman is in charge of the State Senate
Buffalo News
The demographic shift reflects a larger change in state capitols around the country. The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that in 2019, 2,110 women will serve in the 50 state legislatures, meaning women will make up 28.5 percent of all state legislators nationwide. That number is up from the 2018 session's ratio of 25.3 percent and the most women elected at one time, the group said.

Cellphone use while driving is now banned in Glendale, other Phoenix-area cities
AZ Central
Arizona is one of just three states — Missouri and Montana are the others — in which texting and driving remain legal for all or some drivers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Proposal would allow candidates to use campaign dollars for childcare expenses
KGAN-TV
Currently only a handful of states allow campaign funds to cover campaign costs, said Christi Zamarripa, a policy associate with the National Conference of State Legislatures, in an email.

Jan. 9

'Tell Your Children' author warns parents about a 'true link' between marijuana and schizophrenia
CNBC
However, 10 states and Washington, D.C., have already legalized recreational use of pot. Another 23 states and D.C. have legalized marijuana for medical use. Last year, some 20 states considered legalizing adult, recreational use of cannabis, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures research group.

California to Flex Drug Purchasing Power
Wall Street Journal
Several other states have banded together to increase their bargaining power for prescription drugs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Imprisoned for murder, U.S. sex trafficking victim will be freed
Reuters
Twenty U.S. states have passed laws making young trafficking victims immune from crimes such as truancy and underage drinking, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Yes, plastics pollution is encroaching on the Great Lakes, too
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
he National Conference of State Legislators summarizes legislation state by state at ncsl.org (search “state plastic and paper bag legislation”).
 
More details sought in budgeting state dollars
Journal Record
Erica MacKeller, an analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said that no states really use zero-based budgeting every single year.
 
Minimum wage moves to keep up with consumer prices
Perry County Tribune
NCSL Information Cited.

Jan. 8

Sex trafficking victim who murdered man granted clemency
WAtoday
Twenty US states have passed laws making young trafficking victims immune from crimes such as truancy and underage drinking, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Some Texas lawmakers see less appetite for divisive measures
Waco Tribune-Herald
Across the U.S., Democrats picked up more than 330 statehouse seats in November, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.
  
Rep. Cox becomes chairman of Labor and Industry Committee
Pennsylvania Business Report
The General Assembly swore in a record 62 women, but 34 other states have a higher percentage of women, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures data.
 
Patients hopeful Texas will expand access to medical cannabis
Marshall News Messenger
More than 30 states allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Jan. 7

Maryland’s dead-weight occupational licensing laws cost the state a fortune
The Washington Post
Funded by the Labor Department, the consortium is a collaboration between the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices.
 
Alexandria prosecutor moves to limit use of cash bail, part of national trend
Washington Post
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, two-thirds of people in local jails have not been convicted of a crime. Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) said in October that the wide use of cash bail for nonviolent, low-risk defendants should be reconsidered.
 
Washington's governor will pardon people convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession — six years after the state legalized recreational pot
Business Insider
Since 2014, at least 10 states have passed laws to expunge certain marijuana convictions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Nevada lawmakers unlikely to boost their own salaries
The State
That's far below the pay that lawmakers in roughly 20 states receive, according to numbers compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
North Dakota residents ignore law making car-idling illegal
Seymour Tribune
National Conference of State Legislatures data shows nine states have laws to curb vehicle idling and another 14 limit idling for certain vehicles, such as state-owned vehicles and school buses.