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NCSL in the News: July 2011

NCSL in the News: 2011

NCSL in the News Archives

NCSL in the News: July 2011

August 1

Voter ID proposal for Ohio 'dead,' but is it really out of the picture? A closer look
The issue currently might be dead in Ohio, but that's not the case nationwide. As of July 13, 14 states require photo ids from voters, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. Plain Dealer

What the government debt crisis means to you
Some federal funding -- payments for roads, schools and Medicaid -- flows through state governments. State officials will have to decide: "Do you want to fill in anything that you don't receive from the federal government?" says Michael Bird, senior federal affairs counsel at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Wall Street Journal

How state budgets would be affected by a default?
NCSL's Michael Bird interviewed on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports

Some Easton police officers will collect two pensions when they retire
Georgia and Illinois both passed pension reform in 2010 that prevents state employees from collecting a second pension from the same state employer. Connecticut law states retired, pension-collecting employees can continue to work for the state for a maximum of 120 days a year. "But there's no way a state could prohibit someone from going back to work and collect a pension at a place not covered by state pension," said Ron Snell, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislators in Denver. CT Post

Senate missed opportunity to save on its health plans
Only 5 percent of active state employees in the U.S. were enrolled in traditional indemnity plans as of 2009, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Philly Burbs

Arizona schools altering their schedules
More than 120 school districts nationwide use the four-day schedule, though no one tracks the number of schools, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Arizona Republic

Rainwater: No action on Group Benefits until 2013
Richard Cauchi, health program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said several states have components that self-manage insurance for small groups of employees, but Louisiana and Utah are singled out as having the largest numbers of employees under nonprivatized programs. "Other states have larger privatization," Cauchi said. "Sometimes it's a philosophical direction a particular governor wants to go." Shreveport Times

Special session may affect conference trip
Twelve House delegates and two senators and 16 legislative staffers are approved to travel to San Antonio for the four-day National Conference of State Legislatures' annual summit, which starts Aug. 8. Daily Mail

Debt ceiling fix could mean problems for states
States already have closed nearly $480 billion in budget gaps since the beginning of the recession, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press in the Omaha World Herald and FOX News

Charting a new course for schools?
Pennsylvania is not setting any trends in studying a four-day week. More than 120 districts in 21 states already operate on four-day weeks, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Tribune Democrat

The pension puzzle
Twenty-five state legislatures have already enacted significant retirement system changes in 2011, compared to 21 in 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and other proposals to revamp public employee pension systems are pending. Commercial Appeal

VISTA: Adult day health centers face closure
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in a median year, adult day health care services cost $15,600 ---- while a semiprivate room in a nursing home costs $67,525. North County Times

Attitude helps swing local recovery
The national unemployment recently reflected 9.2 percent reported by The National Conference of State Legislatures. The Columbian letter to the editor

Amazon.com sales-tax issue taken up by Congress
States have been working on a federal solution to the Internet sales-tax collection for more than a decade, said Neal Osten, director of the Washington office of the National Conference of State Legislatures. The LA Times in Physorg.com

Congress takes up Amazon sales tax issue
States have been working on a federal solution to the Internet sales tax question for more than a decade, said Neal Osten, director of the Washington office of the National Conference of State Legislatures. As Congress and President Obama struggle to cut the federal budget deficit and reduce support for state-run programs, collecting every dollar from the sales tax is a high priority for local leaders, he said. Los Angeles Times Sacramento Bee

Ind. could weather US default for couple months
The National Conference of State Legislatures has been telling its members to expect to receive only 60 percent of the federal money they're expecting if the U.S. defaults, said Michael Bird, NCSL federal affairs counsel. That estimate is based largely on assumptions that the Treasury Department would be forced to pay off interest on bonds first before making disbursements to all other government programs, he said. AP in Canadian Business

Florida falling behind on renewable energy development
"Of the 29 states with standards, only one would allow nuclear," said Glen Andersen, energy program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "That is Ohio. They have more of a clean energy standard" rather than a renewable standard. Tampa Bay.com

Washington deadlocked? States lead in cutting deficits
"In 2009, there certainly wasn't public sentiment to raise taxes, but they had no other choice," says Mandy Rafool, head of fiscal affairs at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. Now, "newly elected legislators who ran on a platform of cutting spending" are in charge. Christian Science Monitor

Louisiana worker-retiree benefits talks could start in 2012
Richard Cauchi, health program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said several states have components that self-manage insurance for small groups of employees but Louisiana and Utah are singled out as having the largest numbers of employees under non-privatized programs. “Other states have larger privatization,” Cauchi said. “Sometimes it’s a philosophical direction a particular governor wants to go.” The Town Talk

Debt ceiling impact on Arizona looms
Jeff Hurley, a policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said states would only be able to last a few days without federal funding. After that, the lack of federal aid could do budget damage to cities and states, which are already in a delicate position from the recession. “States have been in fiscally perilous situations the last five years,” Hurley said. Tucson Sentinel and Cronkite News Service

Debt debate continues in Washington
According to an October 2010 report from the National Conference of State Legislatures, state balanced budget requirements can be categorized as consisting of one or more of the following: The governor’s proposed budget must be balanced, the enacted budget must be balanced or no deficit can be carried forward from one fiscal period into the next. Edmond Sun

Reg Wydeven column: Working the system still alive and well
In response, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported that 11 states, including Texas, have considered bills to clarify, amend or abolish adverse possession to deter people like Robinson. Post Crescent

Letter: Attitude helps swing local recovery
The national unemployment recently reflected 9.2 percent reported by The National Conference of State Legislatures. Columbian

July 29

Rehab hospital plan gets new life
Thirty-six states maintain CON programs, and the 14 states that have repealed their programs maintain some mechanism intended to regulate costs and duplication of services, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. News Journal

Proactive or Premature? "Caylee" activitists blanket SC lawmakers with pleas
Since last week, legislators nine states have introduced bills. They are Alabama, California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Tennessee, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bluffton Blog

Rhode Island's Voter ID Law: Oddity or Game Changer?
So far this year, all but a few of the 20 states that didn't already have a voter ID law took up legislation to impose the requirement, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Governing Blog

States moving toward HDHPs
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than 20 states offer high-deductible plans linked with health-savings accounts or health-reimbursement arrangements as part of a menu of healthcare-plan choices. Human Resources Executive Online

Gay marriage amendment not clear winner for NC GOP
At the same time, New York this month became the sixth state issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Five other states allow civil unions that provide state-level spousal rights to gay couples, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. South Florida Gay News

July 28

States struggle to comply with federal sex offender law
"It's not from of a lack of desire," said Susan Frederick, federal affairs counsel with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Since 2008, 48 states have enacted nearly 350 laws related to residency restrictions, sentencing and monitoring sex offenders, according to an NCSL database. CNN International

Red light cameras: Are ticket fines voluntary?
The city of Houston has already banished the cameras, and according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a total of nine states have banned the red-light cameras. ABC

States count cash while hoping for U.S. debt deal
“They're banking on compromise,” said Michael Bird, who follows federal affairs for the National Conference of State Legislatures in Washington. Bloomberg

Rhode Island's Voter ID Law: Oddity or Game Changer?
So far this year, all but a few of the 20 states that didn't already have a voter ID law took up legislation to impose the requirement, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Governing (blog)

How Term Limits Failed
A National Conference of State Legislatures study with similar conclusions: “Term limits have increased the power of lobbyists over the California Legislature.” Santa Barbara Independent

States brace for cash cutoff
The cuts might force states to bear the burden of federal programs or shut them down, the National Conference of State Legislatures advised members this month. Omaha World-Herald

NC Republicans weigh banning gay marriage
Five other states allow civil unions that provide state-level spousal rights to gay couples, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Myrtle Beach Sun News

Pasco School Board member builds momentum for four-day week
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that more than 120 districts in 21 states run four-day weeks. Tampabay.com

Default could have widespread impact in NJ
If congressional lawmakers don’t agree on lifting the debt ceiling by the deadline, the government will face an immediate deficit on Aug. 3, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Dailyrecord.com 

A taxpayer-supported campaign against Big Government
ALEC defines itself as a professional association, just like scrupulously nonpartisan organizations like the National Conference of State Legislatures and The Council of State Governments, which legislators commonly belong to. Salon

Standardized Testing for Preschoolers a Good Idea?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 22 states already require the assessment of all students, and 25 states specify which pre-approved assessments districts may use. TakePart

The William Bulger I know
The demanding reading list included selections from Plutarch's Lives, interspersed with case studies from the National Conference of State Legislatures. CommonWealth magazine

July 27

States missed pension targets by 50%
Already, 14 states raised retirement age and length-of- service requirements to help close pension funding gaps, including New Jersey, Florida and Maryland, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Bloomberg

NC House falls short of canceling governor's veto of photo ID
Fourteen states now have laws that require or request photo identification of voters, while 16 others require ID without a photo, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
AP/The Republic

Dealing with the dual eligibles
The National Conference of State Legislatures has written briefs about 15 specific strategies.
Governing

Dodge City Representative Brian Weber appointed Agriculture Committee
He also serves on the Agriculture and Energy Committee for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
Dodge City Daily Globe

W.Va. holding redistricting session next week
Some lawmakers have suggested recessing the session to allow public comment, while others cite the following week's summit held by the National Conference of State Legislatures in San Antonio, Texas. AP/
Greenwich Time

July 26

How a default could devastate the country
The National Conference of State Legislatures told members last week that states would likely have to tap their own revenues to maintain spending for a wide variety of state-federal programs—or decide which programs might cease temporarily.
Business Insider

Calif. Gov. Brown vetoes adult day health care bill
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in a median year adult day health care services cost $15,600 while a
semi-private room in a nursing room costs $67,525.
San Jose Mercury News

Poor may soon get some unused NH medications
New Hampshire is one of at least 38 states plus Guam that have enacted similar laws and programs, according to the National
Conference of State Legislatures.
BusinessWeek

NAACP head likens voter ID measures to Jim Crow
Fourteen states require voters to present a government-issued photo identification at the polls according to the National Conference
of State Legislatures.
Reuters

Midwest relies on innovation to restore economic health
The National Conference of State Legislatures' recent "Fiscal Brief: Projected State Revenue Growth in FY 2011 and Beyond"
indicates that nearly every 2011 fiscal state forecast has revenues exceeding those of 2009, “although many note that revenues are
still well below peak levels.”
Area Development Online

California "Dream Act" approved for illegal immigrants
Twelve other states also grant in-state tuition eligibility to illegal immigrants based on attendance and graduation from a state high
school, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Reuters
 

July 25

Teachers' pension gap at issue in Connecticut
"States are sharing less with cities, counties and school districts simply because they have less to give as budgets are squeezed," said Ron Snell, director of the state services division at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Wall Street Journal

As others see it
The National Conference of State Legislatures notes the assemblies normally govern the most populous states.
Opinion in MLive.com

Pension extension via 'airtime' becomes political target
Unlike CalPERS, many offered a discount to employees, said Robert Snell, a pension expert with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Sacramento Bee

Tobacco fix to end shutdown may be costly
About 20 states have issued bonds backed by future tobacco settlement revenues to meet more immediate needs, according to Arturo Perez, a financial analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
St. Cloud Times and Canadian Business

District officials considering four-day school weeks
More than 120 districts in 21 states operate on four-day weeks, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Iowa's task: Bet on right school reforms
"I think you have to be very, very careful," said Michele Exstrom, education program principal for the National Conference of State Legislatures, which has offices in Denver, Colo., and Washington, D.C. "There's no silver bullet."
Des Moines Register

Child welfare overhaul still bumpy
Jack Tweedie, a director of the National Conference of State Legislatures' Children and Families Program, told Nebraska lawmakers recently that benefits from privatization have been mixed and can take a decade or more to appear. "Privatization has been a mistake- and correction-filled process," Tweedie said.
Omaha World Herald

N.C. lawmakers feel pressure to enact Caylee's Law
However, across the country, no law has been on the books that makes it a felony for a parent to fail to report a child missing. Legislators in at least eight states have filed Caylee's Law bills, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
News Record

July 22

Debt ceiling uncertainty puts states at risk
The National Conference of State Legislatures told members this week that there was little experience to guide their many “what if” questions, citing instead “a potpourri of ‘coulds,’ ” including the possibility that the federal government could pay its debts in the order in which they were received, or could prioritize which payments to make. 
The New York Times

Texas man’s $16 property seizure throws obscure law into spotlight
"It's kind of a quirky doctrine -- a common-law doctrine designed to acknowledge that if you got possession of a property and no one's been challenging it, you should have some type of title to it," said Larry Morandi, director of state policy research for the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
Fox News

For some gay couples, fight goes on to marry — and stay in the US
Thirty-seven states have defense of marriage acts, while six states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
MSNBC

Momentum builds for new measure to recall officials
Nineteen states, plus Washington D.C., permit recall elections, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At the state level, recall elections rarely are successful. But in 2003, California voters successfully recalled Gov. Gray Davis. 
The Herald

Higher education audit findings and redistricting
A presentation by the  National Conference of State Legislatures explained what was required under the Federal Voting Rights Act.  It was made clear by the presentation that Gerrymandering is OK, if the legislature chooses to do so.  Gerrymandering is the process in which those in power try to divide up districts to get the result they want. 
Keyser Mineral Daily News Tribune

July 21

Debt rating would raise political cost
All the worry Moody's stirred may evaporate in a day or two, said Arturo Perez, a fiscal analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver.  "It may be all moot if tomorrow there is some agreement in D.C.," Perez said Wednesday.  AP in the
Augusta Chronicle

Amazon, share with California, OK?
In response, the National Governors Association and National Conference of State Legislatures set up a committee to devise a "streamlined sales tax." Twenty-three states have already signed onto the committee's plan, and Amazon claims that it would support such a measure.  The New Republic in
NPR

How fallout from the debt debate could affect education
In a recent memo made available to state lawmakers across the country, NCSL said if there's no deal, it's unclear how the federal government would set priorities for which programs that provide money to states—such as Medicaid, and spending on energy, child welfare and nutrition, and education—would receive money first. 
Education Week (blog)

Wildwood new hires have to be residents
Wildwood’s new employment and residency rules came after Gov. Chris Christie signed a new law requiring all future New Jersey’s public employees to live in the state as a condition of employment.  The bill makes New Jersey the first in the country to take public employee residency requirements to this level, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
Shore News Today

Oklahoma House members should have more say in getting bills heard, legislator says
The most recent data available from the National Conference of State Legislatures shows about 20 percent of the nation's legislative chambers require all bills be heard in committees, Estus said. 
NewsOK

Mandatory drug testing for the poor
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures many states have proposed drug testing for welfare recipients since the passage of welfare reform in 1996. Drug testing is expressly permitted in the federal rules governing the TANF block grant. 
Washington Informer

Worry spreads in Georgia’s immigrant community
The legislative action in Georgia is part of a national trend. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in early 2011, lawmakers across the country and Puerto Rico introduced 1,538 bills and resolutions relating to immigrants and refugees, a jump of nearly 400 proposed laws during the same time in 2010. 
The Georgia Bulletin

Senate redistricting process continues
Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin has tentatively discussed calling a special session to begin Aug. 1. However, Unger said there has been talk of pushing back the start of the session to avoid possible conflicts with the National Conference of State Legislatures' annual summit in San Antonio which several legislators are planning to attend. 
The Charleston Gazette

Nearly two dozen states end fiscal year with budget surpluses
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 47 States and Puerto Rico have thus far enacted budgets for fiscal 2012. 
Personal Liberty Digest

Koch, Exxon Mobil, Other Firms Helping Write State Laws
n last November’s election, Republicans won from Democrats more than 675 state legislative seats, and now control both chambers in 26 states’ legislatures, up from 14 before the election, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
Bloomberg

W.Va. redistricting drafts show dueling approaches
Other lawmakers have questioned whether the special session might require a recess if they don't pass a redistricting plan by that initial week. The National Conference of State Legislatures is holding a summit in San Antonio on Aug. 8-11, and several West Virginia lawmakers have expressed an interest in attending.  AP in the
Victoria Advocate

Ballot law update: Florida lawsuit seeks restrictions on referred amendments
Since the beginning of the year, 229 laws have been proposed in 40 states affecting the initiative and referendum process, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
Ballot News

July 20

Dayton calls legislative session to end Minnesota state shutdown
The shutdown is the longest of six in U.S. states since 2002 by 10 days, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
Bloomberg

Balanced-budget amendment would do what?
Ron Snell is a fellow with the National Conference of State Legislatures.  "One of the reasons that states are able to maintain balanced budgets is that, in the worst of a crisis like the one we've been through, there's federal money to help them out." 
Marketplace

Unions challenge Arizona on retirement contributions
The National Conference of State Legislatures said in a June 30 report that 15 states increased employee contribution requirements in 2011, at least partly offsetting reductions in employer contributions, up from 11 states in 2010.  Of the 15 states that increased contributions in 2011, a dozen increased contribution requirements for at least some current employees.  AP in the
Arizona City Independent

Moore sponsors 'Caylee's Law' in Mass.
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports than more than 20 states are considering similar legislation, in the wake of the criminal trial of Casey Anthony in Florida. 
The Daily Grafton

July 19

Many states end year in surplus as Washington debates new borrowing limit
"The problem certainly still exists," said Michael Bird, federal affairs counsel with the National Conference of State Legislatures. He suggested that the kind of measure being proposed on Capitol Hill might be more far-reaching than what most states have in place. 
Fox News

Virginia Tech helmet research crucial
This winter, such laws proliferated rapidly -- see the National Conference of State Legislatures chart of states that either already have laws on high school sports-related concussions or soon will. 
ESPN

Lawmakers should work part time
Only four states — California, New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan — have full-time legislatures. The National Conference of State Legislatures notes the assemblies normally govern the most populous states.  Editorial in
The Times Herald

Redistricting meeting is Thursday in Huntington
West Virginia is one of 11 states that still have a mix of multi-member and single-member districts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The rest have single-member districts. 
Huntington Herald Dispatch

Bed-sharing toddlers don't have behavior problems
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than 4,500 infants die suddenly each year in the United States.  Approximately half of these unexplained deaths are SIDS. 
Examiner.com

Law requiring mandatory drug testing for poor met with criticism
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures many states have proposed drug testing for welfare recipients since the passage of welfare reform in 1996. Drug testing is expressly permitted in the federal rules governing the TANF block grant. 
Black Voice News

Progress, but not enough, against needless hospital procedures
Neither the American Hospital Association nor the National Conference of State Legislatures is aware of similar statutes passed in other states, spokespeople said.  Editorial in
The Baltimore Sun

July 18

The politics behind new voter ID laws
The National Conference of State Legislatures has more information on changes to voting laws this year. The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School, which opposes many of the changes, also has a detailed list. 
NPR

Maine set to beef up State House security
The National Conference of State Legislatures said that by February, 26 states were requiring visitors to their legislative buildings to pass through metal detectors. Most other capitols had metal detectors on hand in case of security concerns.  AP in the
Boston Globe

After the recession, students borrow reluctantly
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 states reduced funding for higher education in their budgets for this fiscal year, which for most started this month. 
The Huffington Post

E-tailers vs. retailers on tax issue
“Congress has to take action,” Neal Osten, who handles state and federal issues for the National Conference of State Legislatures, told Politico. In an era of cuts, “this is $23 billion that the federal government can give to the states.” 
Politico

Colo. mother wishes for meeting with son's killers
While several states have restorative justice laws, Colorado, Alabama, California and Vermont are the only ones trying to make possible victim-offender meetings, according to a survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  AP in
9NEWS and the San Francisco Chronicle

Say what? Hearing loss blamed on technology, longevity, an increasingly noisy world
In 2001, it became Pennsylvania state law to screen all infants at birth. New Jersey instituted Newborn Hearing Screening Laws in 2000, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
The Express Times

Coming this fall: big tuition hikes
At least half the states cut funding for higher education in their recently concluded legislative sessions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In most cases, higher tuition will be the inevitable result. 
The Daily Titan

Many states celebrate surpluses as Congress struggles with debt
Unlike Washington, nearly all states are required by law to balance their budgets each year. Only Vermont lacks such a requirement, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
The Washington Times

W.Va. House moving ahead on redistricting maps
The trend nationally has been for state legislatures to move away from multi-seat districts. More than two-thirds of the states had them in the 1950s, writes Josh Goodman of Stateline.org.  Just 11 do now, his recent analysis said, citing figures from the National Conference of State Legislatures.  AP in the
Wheeling News Register

Gov. Chris Christie recounts tale of N.J. pension overhaul during closed-door meeting at NGA
In the past two years, 39 states have made significant changes to the employee retirement benefits with 21 doing so last year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks legislation trends. Four other states have legislation pending. 
The Star-Ledger

WI voter ID law: Hurdles for voters, little to curb voter fraud & $7 million tab
According to PolitiFact, Wisconsin’s law is one of the most restrictive, based on research on acceptable IDs and voting procedures for those without IDs from state election offices, and the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
Examiner.com

Chandler selected to the Women's Legislative Network Executive Board
Senator Harriette L. Chandler announced that she has been selected as the Eastern Regional Member of the Executive Board of the Women’s Legislative Network, a part of the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
The Daily Holden

July 15

Deal is made in Minnesota to end shutdown
The shutdown was the longest of six in U.S. states since 2002, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Bloomberg

Competition or chaos? Fuss and bother over setting up health exchanges
But states will not have a final rule on benefits until next year, explains Joy Wilson of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Economist

Should Wyo. voters be able to register online?
Jennie Bowser, a senior fellow with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said many states have considered adding the online option since Arizona became the first in 2002.
Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Maryland keeps AAA rating, but analysts still concerned by pension liabilities, dependence on federal spending
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Maryland was one of 25 states that made changes to its pension systems this year, and it was one of 15 states that increased employee contributions, and one of 14 that changed eligibility requirements.
City Biz List Baltimore

Lawmakers should work part time
Only four states -- California, New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan -- have full-time legislatures. The National Conference of State Legislatures notes the assemblies normally govern the most populous states.
Port Huron Times Herald

Industry insiders say credit scores can impact car insurance rates
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Tennessee lawmakers this year introduced measures to prevent insurers from taking adverse actions against a consumer based on personal financial information, but the bills are dead for this year.
Nooga.com

Commentary: Trillion dollar legal questions on public pensions could bankrupt taxpayers
The National Conference of State Legislatures just released its update on actions states are taking to try to delay the pension crash, but there is no way to know how effective they are, which will be challenged in court, how long that will take or who will win.
Watchdog.org

Mandatory drug testing for the poor
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures many states have proposed drug testing for welfare recipients since the passage of welfare reform in 1996.
Final Call

Public employee unions challenge Arizona over increase in workers' retirement contributions
The National Conference of State Legislatures said in a June 30 report that 15 states increased employee contribution requirements in 2011, at least partly offsetting reductions in employer contributions, up from 11 states in 2010.
Daily Reporter: Greenfield, IN

Hamilton’s, McComas’ districts would be changed
Fourteen of the 30 states that call for some form of voter identification require a photo ID, reports the National Conference of State Legislatures’ website.
Lumina News: Wrightsville Beach, NC 

July 14

More than 20 states want 'Caylee's Law'
But only three states -- Florida, New Jersey and Tennessee -- actually have bills filed, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
WESH NBC Orlando, Florida

Official says single-member districts unlikely soon
Morgan Cullen, policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures, gave a basic primer about how states across the country are dealing with dividing up U.S. House of Representatives seats.
Charleston Daily Mail

United States: Growing patchwork of state immigration laws add to employer compliance burdens
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in the first quarter of 2011, state legislators in the 50 states and Puerto Rico introduced 1,538 immigration-related bills and resolutions. This surpassed the first quarter of 2010, when 1,180 bills were introduced.
Mondaq

Caylee's Law filed in Massachusetts
Lawmakers in at least 20 states have filed versions of Caylee's Law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
WWLP Western Massachusetts

House Redistricting Committee Shifts Focus to Congressional Districts
Morgan Cullen of the National Conference of State Legislatures spoke at the committee’s July 13 meeting. He presented committee members with information regarding Congressional districts and how population shifts across the country influence the number of Congressional seats a state could gain or lose.
WBOY NBC West Virginia

House redistricting committee reviews boundaries for W.Va's 3 congressional seats
An analyst from the National Conference of State Legislatures offered that assessment Wednesday to the committee overseeing redistricting for the House of Delegates.
AP in the Columbus, IN Republic

July 13

Amazon relies on tax-averse Californians in ‘unusual’ strategy
Voters weren’t receptive to tax-increasing proposals on the ballot in November, said Jennie Bowser, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. She said Amazon’s strategy has been tried before.
Bloomberg in Washington Post

Progressives push to stop implementation of voter ID law
“Voter ID has been the hottest topic of legislation in the field of elections this year,” according to the website of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Columbia Free Times

Arizona universities may see funds tied to graduation rates
Most performance-based funding has been tied to a small slice of money, typically 2 percent to 7 percent of a university’s budget, said Brenda Bautsch, a policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures, a Washington, D.C., group that tracks the activities of state governing bodies.
Arizona Republic

West Virginia House looks at congressional redistricting
The bipartisan panel is meeting Wednesday to hear from an analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
AP in Connecticut Post

Op-Ed: Even AP starts to see public employee union benefits are unsustainable
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in 2009 at least 14 states offered free health benefits to some or all state employees, with at least seven states also paying for family plans.
San Francisco Examiner

Dayton talks at Apollo about shutdown impact
Minnesota’s state shutdown already has become the longest-lasting shutdown in any state in almost a decade, the National Conference of State Legislatures said Monday.
St. Cloud Times

Gays gaining ground in state political district boundary talks
"I haven't heard of this level of involvement by an LGBT group in state redistricting anywhere else, which is probably due to California's new independent redistricting process," said Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Whose agenda is this?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, North Carolina was one of 43 states with proposed legislation to restrict or oppose health-care mandates.
Mountain Xpress

Judge rejects petition to reopen rest areas in MN
The shutdown in Minnesota is now the longest of any state in nearly 10 years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Land Line Magazine 

Opinion: Illegal immigration: Where did all the Mexicans go?
A new report available on the National Conference of State Legislatures web site says, "State legislatures continue to grapple with immigration issues at an unprecedented rate. In the first quarter of 2011, state legislators in the 50 states and Puerto Rico introduced 1,538 bills and resolutions relating to immigrants and refugees."
Deseret News

Target Scion Dayton's quest to improve Minnesota shuts it down
The 12-day impasse is the longest of the nation's six state government shutdowns since 2002 by four days, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Bloomberg in San Francisco Chronicle

Most Minnesota lawmakers still collecting their paychecks
Lawmakers in Minnesota earn $31,140 a year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Stateline

 

July 12

Obama administration rolls out standards for health insurance marketplaces
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 12 states have enacted laws to establish exchanges. Bills failed in nine states and are pending in 11 others, the organization said.
New York Times

States continue push to toughen teacher policies
According to Michelle Exstrom, an education program principal at the National Conference of State Legislatures, Race to the Top “certainly put the carrot out there” for legislators to make systemic changes to the teaching profession.
Education Week

NJ Assembly, Senate introduce Caylee's Law requiring parents to report missing children
Jon Kuhl of the National Conference of State Legislatures said the quick response across the country represented legislators being responsive to their constituents' concerns.
AP in Daily Reporter (Greenfield, IN)

Bill targets pay into pensions
Nationally, 15 states have bargained or legislated higher public pension contributions by employees, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Modesto Bee

Obama wants to ease health-exchange rules
So far, 12 states, including California, Connecticut, and Maryland, have enacted laws creating their own exchanges in 2014, according to a tally by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Philadelphia Inquirer

Q&A: Florida employees' pensions undergoing change
PolitiFact Florida reviewed the state retirement systems of all 50 states and consulted with Ron Snell, the director of state services for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
St. Petersburg Times

Budget impasse, shutdown enters 2nd week
The National Conference of State Legislatures says Minnesota's government shutdown is now the longest of any state in nearly a decade.
AP in Bloomberg Businessweek

HHS promises flexibility on exchanges
At least 31 states have approved some type of legislation governing the establishment of exchanges, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Washington Times

Minnesota shutdown longest in recent history, no new talks
Todd Haggerty, a fiscal affairs analyst for the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, said the shutdown already is the longest since the group began to gather such data in 2002, but is also the longest in at least two decades.
Reuters

States get leeway on shape of new insurance exchanges
But many states are moving slowly to set up the marketplaces, with just 12 passing exchange laws since the overhaul became law last year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Two states, Utah and Massachusetts, already had exchanges.
Wall Street Journal

States given flexibility on insurance exchanges
Thus far, 12 states, including California, Connecticut and Maryland, have enacted laws creating their own state-based insurance exchanges in 2014, according to a tally by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Los Angeles Times

Insurers will share revenue under U.S. health market rules
Nine states enacted laws creating exchanges this year, according to a database maintained by the National Conference of State Legislatures, the group representing state lawmakers.
Bloomberg Businessweek

July 11

As government nears accord with banks, questions swirl over scope of investigation
States had a cumulative budget deficit of nearly $84 billion in the 2011 fiscal year, according to an April report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
Huffington Post

Two years after Obama’s college graduation initiative, major obstacles remain
Cuts in some states have been even more severe. California has slashed $2 billion from its public universities and $695 million from community colleges, the National Conference of State Legislatures, or NCSL, reports.
Hechinger Report

Op-Ed: Even liberals beginning to see public employee unions as unaffordable
As more and more Americans in the private sector choose to not get health insurance simply because they can't afford it, keep this in mind: According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in 2009, at least 14 states offered free health benefits to some or all state employees with at least seven states also paying for family plans.
Washington Examiner

Businesses in Colo. await bills on interest for unemployment insurance borrowed from feds
Colorado's debt is smaller than 19 other states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
AP in The Republic

State Assembly employee Sisa Moyo, 47, found dead in apartment
She briefly left the Assembly to work for the National Conference of State Legislatures in Colorado before returning to New York.
New York Daily News

Shutdown is longest on record
Minnesota's government shutdown is now the longest of any state in almost a decade, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Pioneer Press

States face new rules to set up markets on health coverage
Eight states enacted laws creating exchanges this year, according to a database maintained by the National Conference of State Legislatures, the group representing state lawmakers.
Bloomberg in San Francisco Chronicle

July 8
 

Students claim ID rules make it harder to rock the vote
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Rhode Island became the seventh state to have new or strengthened voter identification policies signed into law this year; several dozen more are considering or have considered similar proposals. 
Sydney Morning Herald

Medicaid makes poor healthier and states poorer
Melissa Hansen, a health policy expert at NCSL, said states have already trimmed any administrative fat in their Medicaid budgets and are now forced to cut services like dental care and physical therapy. 
ABC News

If it lasts, shutdown could make history
The National Conference of State Legislatures said Minnesota is just one of five states that have shut down government since 2002 and most were a for a few hours or a few days. 
Minnesota Public Radio

A new source of numbers in Harrisburg
Corina Eckl of the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures, which compiled the state-by-state data, said the fiscal offices "can help give the Legislature a more unified voice in budget negotiations with the governor." 
Allentown Morning Call

GOP push to tighten state voting laws prompts Dem backlash
The push for new voting rules is happening in dozens of states. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 20 states without voter ID laws were considering them in their 2011 sessions. 
Fox News

Health care law opponents file petitions
Health care amendments are being pushed in other states. Lawmakers in Alabama, Florida and Wyoming are putting similar measures before voters next year, the National Conference of State Legislatures says. Voters in Arizona, Oklahoma and Missouri approved similar constitutional changes.  AP in the
Defiance Crescent News

Bill that would allow N.J. public workers to opt out of joining union has no chance to pass, Sheila Oliver says
Most are in southern and western states, but they're gaining interest in other places, especially states where Republicans control the Legislature and the governor's office. In all, 42 right-to-work bills are pending in 24 states, according to the national Conference of State Legislatures.  AP in
The Star-Ledger

A call for two-year terms for delegates
All of those states, like Maryland, are “70 percent+ full time” legislatures (according to the National Conference of State Legislatures). However, unlike Maryland, those who sit in the lower legislative house of those states have to run for election every two years.  Editorial in
Gazette.net

July 7

Signatures filed in effort to fight health care law
Lawmakers in Alabama, Florida and Wyoming plan to put similar measures before voters next year, the National Conference of State Legislatures said.
Zanes Ville Times Recorder

Rhode Island rejects tax change said to favor small business
A report (pdf) produced for the National Conference for State Legislators used econometric modeling to show that it would be impossible to predict how much money — if any — combined reporting might raise.
New York Times Blog

Voter ID law will boost accuracy
Out of the 20 states that considered new legislation to enforce voter ID this year, Rhode Island is the only state with a Democratic-controlled legislature to have passed the measure, according to data from the non-partisan National Conference of State Legislatures.
Providence Journal

Higher taxes yield to budget cuts in states
Nineteen states do so every two years, not annually, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
New York Times

Rhode Island governor signs voter ID bill
Fourteen other states currently ask voters to show photo identification at the polls or have passed laws to do so, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Twenty-nine states in all require voters to show ID before casting a ballot.
Reuters

It's hard to keep track of your state senator when there are six of them in one district
Today, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, just 11 do.
Stateline.org

Potential impacts of mandatory E-Verify use in Virginia (and other states)
He also provided the link for the National Conference of State Legislatures, which he called the most reliable source for determining state adoption of E-Verify. The site indicates that Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Tennessee and Utah have enacted E-Verify legislation.
GovWin.com

NJ paves way on tightening public worker benefits
In 2009, 14 states offered free health benefits to some or all individual state employees, and half as many states also paid for family plans, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
AP in Inside Bay Area

Ballot Law Update: Electronic signatures rejected in CA
Since the beginning of the year, 229 laws have been proposed in 40 states affecting the initiative and referendum process, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.[1]
Ballot News

Ohio health care law opponents file petitions
Such amendments are being pushed in other states. Lawmakers in Alabama, Florida and Wyoming are putting similar measures before voters next year, the National Conference of State Legislatures says.
Forbes and CBS News

July 6

Ohio health care law opponents to file petitions
The National Conference of State Legislatures says lawmakers in Alabama, Florida and Wyoming are putting similar measures before voters next year.
AP, Fox 19, Mansfield News Journal, WKSU, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Sacramento Bee, Maimi Herald, WSAZ

Ohio, Maine budget deals reached
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 46 states began fiscal year 2012 on July 1.
Land Line Magazine

Medicaid payments go under the knife
Federal-state Medicaid costs were $366 billion in fiscal 2009. The federal stimulus package gave states $100 billion to help pay their share, but that funding ended June 30, and "states are struggling," says Laura Tobler, a policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. The health law bars states from restricting eligibility for the program.
USA Today

An election that isn’t about the candidates, primary signals strange times
Of the 19 states that allow recalls, only eight list specific grounds, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Wisconsin is not among them.
La Crosse Tribune

Quiet Please: state pilot program underway on Rt. 7
Then, a couple years ago, May was at the National Conference of State Legislatures when he came across a display about quiet pavement technology.
Leesburg Today

July 5

Hospital approval process sparks debate
By restricting competition, the programs actually force the costs of health care to rise, said Katie Mason, a health policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Northwest Herald

Public employee retirement funds rise, but not enough
For fiscal 2012, which for most states started Friday, at least four states have enacted budgets that require employees to make larger pension contributions, according to a database of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Washington Post

National candidates can take advantage of Alabama's campaign finance laws
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there is wide variation in how states regulate individual PAC donations. Several states have dollar limits, such as $1,000 per election in West Virginia, or $5,000 per calendar year in Arkansas.
Birmingham News

Shutdown tests TPaw's message
But Pawlenty critics have more than a few exhibits in their range of evidence, starting with a 2010 report from the National Conference of State Legislatures showing that Minnesota used onetime budget tricks to close 41 percent of its spending gap in that fiscal year.
Politico in the Union Leader

Texas rep named to national ag, energy committee
Texas Rep. Stefani Carter (R-Dallas) has been appointed to the National Conference of State Legislatures' (NCSL) Agriculture and Energy Committee by Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, according to the Texas Insider. 
News Radio 1420

NJ paves way on tightening public worker benefits
n 2009, 14 states offered free health benefits to some or all individual state employees, and half as many states also paid for family plans, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
AP, CBS News, Seattle Post Intelligencer, Long Island Press and Casper Star Tribune

Residents feel pinch as Minnesota shuts down
At least 45 states had agreed to spending plans by Friday, officials at the National Conference of State Legislatures said, and the handful of states still finishing their work did not appear at risk of shutdown.
Seattle Times

Records law offers ex-offenders a second chance
About 30 states seal criminal records under some circumstances at the discretion of a court, though the parameters and waiting periods vary, according to a survey by the National Conference of State Legislators. One state, Pennsylvania, even has special rules for ex-offenders older than 70.
Indianapolis Star

The largest U.S. online retailer looks to battle against collecting sales tax from customers
Last year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, states lost an estimated 8.6 billion USD in uncollected sales tax from online and catalogue purchases.
Arbitrage Magazine

State budget woes as new fiscal year approaches
"In any given year, one can expect a handful of states facing the potential of a late budget situation," said Arturo Perez, director of fiscal affairs at the National Conference of State Legislatures. At least 38 states can rest easy because their governors have signed the state budget, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
CNN in Yahoo News

Indiana teachers sue to halt school voucher program
State-wide voucher programs in Arizona, Florida and Colorado were struck down as unconstitutional by state supreme courts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Reuters

Connecticut’s ‘anti-Christie’ Governor Malloy plans worker cuts
Lawmakers offered 856 bills concerning collective bargaining in legislative sessions this year, according to data from all 50 states reported by the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver.
Bloomberg and the San Francisco Chronicle

Minnesota state government shuts down
They faced collective shortfalls of $86bn for fiscal 2012, which began on Friday for most states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan research group.
Financial Times

Minnesota budget
At least 45 states had agreed to spending plans by Friday, officials at the National Conference of State Legislatures said, and the handful of states still finishing their work did not appear at risk of shutdown.
The AP in the Sierre Vista Herald

Massachusetts echoes Wisconsin as budget curbs union power
States from California to Connecticut have slashed worker benefits amid the worst fiscal crisis since the Depression. At least 20 states have sought to cut personnel-related medical expenses in the past year, from excluding certain procedures to imposing across-the-board increases in employee costs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Bloomberg and San Francisco Chronicle

Minnesota's woes shadow Pawlenty
A report by the National Conference of State Legislatures last year said Mr. Pawlenty had used different one-time maneuvers to patch over more than 41% of the budget, second in the use of such maneuvers only to Alaska.
Wall Street Journal

Exempting religion
Thirty-seven states define marriage that way, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but the law is the target of court battles.
World Magazine

Intimination: Tea Party intimidation of citizen redistricting commissions
There are 21 states that have some form of a Citizen Redistricting Commission that play a role in redistricting state legislative and congressional district lines. 2009 Redistricting Commissions Table (National Conference of State Legislatures).
Tucson Citizen

No end in sight as Minnesotans grapple with state shutdown
At least 45 states had agreed to spending plans by Friday, officials at the National Conference of State Legislatures said, and the handful of states still finishing their work did not appear at risk of shutdown.
New York Times

Minn. awakes to shutdown; Parties point fingers
Here, as in 21 other states, there's no way to keep government operating past the end of a budget period without legislative action, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
CBS News

Budget dispute shutters Minnesota state government
Here, as in 21 other states, there's no way to keep government operating past the end of a budget period without legislative action, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Even so, only four other states - Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Tennessee - have had shutdowns in the past decade, some lasting mere hours.
AP in the Daily
Breeze

July 1

July means fireworks and a new crop of state laws
"The key issue has been money and budgets. Everybody is dealing with that," William Pound, executive director of the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, says. "It has been through reductions or increases in fees. Like raising tuition at higher education institutions, or fees at state parks. We're putting more of the cost of the service on the individual using it rather than on the taxpaying public at large."
NPR

Minnesota government shuts down
States had to close a collective $86 billion budget gap for their new fiscal year, which begins Friday for most states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Wall Street Journal

In Minnesota, Democrats and Republicans point fingers at each other
Here, as in 21 other states, there’s no way to keep government operating past the end of a budget period without legislative action, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/
Washington Post

Congress and state legislatures propose new immigration legislation
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, state lawmakers in 44 states introduced 279 immigration-related bills.
Association of Corporate Counsel

Tied Ore. legislature defies odds, avoids gridlock
Ties in Legislatures aren't rare — every even-year election since 1966 has produced at least one tied chamber in the U.S., according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
AP/San Antonio Express

More trouble in child welfare reform
Jack Tweedie of the National Conference of State Legislatures said that child welfare costs doubled in Florida and rose significantly in Kansas after privatization.
Lincoln Journal Star Editorial

20 other states have outlawed plant food
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 states have put legal restrictions on the sale and possession of synthetic cathinones, the class of designer drugs commonly known as plant food or bath salts.
Winona Daily News

House leader apologizes for Holocaust remarks
More than a dozen states require lobbyists to wear identification badges, including New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Boston Globe

RI General Assembly sends voter ID bill to gov
Twenty-seven states have laws requiring voter identification at the polls, with two set to join the list in the coming months, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
AP/Boston Globe

Four-day school week passes in Florida
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 states already have school districts with public schools offering four-day school weeks.
CNN

Public pension investments up, reforms afoot
For fiscal 2012, which for most states starts July 1, at least four states have enacted budgets that require employees to make larger pension contributions, according to a database of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Reuters

Obama and Romney come to Philly, NJN readies for move to New York
Arturo Perez is a fiscal analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, and he'll talk about how states are faring as they work to pass their budgets.
Newsworks.org (blog)

Why you shouldn't care about the Apportionment Board
According to Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures multi-member districts “used to be far more common.
vtdigger.org

Breast-feeding in spotlight after nursing mom told to get off bus
Twenty-seven other states, as well as the District of Columbia, exempt breast-feeding from public indecency laws - and D.C. and 44 states have laws that specifically allow women to breast-feed in any public or private location, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures website.
CBS News

News, notes and a few comments from the state Capitol
The National Conference of State Legislatures has a chart comparing the different states, with categories ranging from “red” states, like Michigan, which has the fullest of full-time legislatures, to “blue” states, which have extremely part-time bodies.
Lansing Business 

Budget impasse, shutdown enters 2nd week
The National Conference of State Legislatures says Minnesota's government shutdown is now the longest of any state in nearly a decade. AP in
Atlanta Journal Constitution

 

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