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NCSL in the News July 2014

NCSL in the News | July 2014

7/1/2014

July 31

States Hit Snags Issuing Driver's Licenses to Undocumented Immigrants
Eleven states and Washington, D.C., have laws permitting undocumented immigrants to get some sort of special driver's license or permit, said the National Conference of State Legislatures. Individuals who can't show that they are in the U.S. lawfully typically are required to provide proof of state residency, tax returns or other identification to qualify for licenses. But in larger, more populous states, where substantial numbers of immigrants may be eligible, the new regulations are proving tricky to roll out. The Wall Street Journal
 
Union Rules Vary From State to State
Nearly half of states — 24 — are so-called right-to-work states, in that state law prohibits requiring employees to pay dues to a union they do not otherwise support, according to the Department of Labor and the National Conference of State Legislatures. Although federal law governs union elections and other factors, the issue of "fair share" or "agency" fees has remained the purview of states. Roll Call Online

Which state has worst ROI on health care?
Americans spend $2.9 trillion on health care every year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures — which is twice as much per capita as other industrialized countries. New York Daily News
 
Fact check needed on Obama's Kansas City speech, states with minimum wage increases didn't see higher job growth
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and D.C. have enacted minimum wage increases during the 2014 session. Red Alert Politics
 
Pa. senator inhales on state-funded pot trip
In a guest column submitted to Pennsylvania newspapers titled, "What I learned about legal marijuana in Denver," state Sen. Daylin Leach, a Democrat who represents parts of Delaware and Montgomery counties, describes his recent trip to Colorado to investigate the effects of marijuana legalization in that state. Leach also visited the headquarters of the National Conference of State Legislators during the trip "to discuss trends in legislation." York Daily Record

July 30

Court case: Voting via the Internet is a civil rights issue for disabled
In 31 states and the District of Columbia, those voters can also return their ballots electronically via email, fax or a Web-based ballot-marking service like the Maryland one, according to a June report from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Al-Jazeera America

Chris Christie Pension Cuts Could Damage Economy: Report
In recent months, the tide of pension cuts appears to have ebbed. Reuters reports that according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, state legislators “had filed 1,234 pension bills in the first four months of 2014...but few bills passed into law have made big changes.” International Business Times

A sampling of editorials from around New York
A survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures found that, among the 39 states that have some kind of film or TV credit, several — Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Wisconsin — have ended or defunded them, while others have pared them back. Still, some, like Hawaii, have increased them. A new one started this year in Nevada. The Idaho Statesman

Union Rules Vary From State to State
Nearly half of states — 24 — are so-called right-to-work states, in that state law prohibits requiring employees to pay dues to a union they do not otherwise support, according to the Department of Labor and the National Conference of State Legislatures. Roll Call

Which state has worst ROI on health care?
Americans spend $2.9 trillion on health care every year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures — which is twice as much per capita as other industrialized countries. New York Daily News

States Hit Snags Issuing Driver's Licenses to Undocumented Immigrants
Eleven states and Washington, D.C., have laws permitting undocumented immigrants to obtain some sort of special driver's license or permit, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Wall Street Journal

In Kansas, embattled Gov. Brownback's mixed record is case study in GOP control
"In most other Republican-controlled states, you haven't had the super-majorities like you had in Kansas and you haven't been as aggressive in pursuing the GOP agenda on steroids," said Tim Storey, an analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Washington Post
 
10 numbers that explain why income inequality is a hot topic
This is the number of states -- plus D.C. -- considering minimum-wage legislation as of February 24, 2014, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Washington Post
 
GOP Gov Hopeful Honour Wants State Spending Cap
Twenty-six states have some form of a spending cap, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. KSTP Eyewitness News - Minnesota

San Diego Mayor Says He’ll Veto $11.50 Minimum Wage
Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia require employers to pay more than the $7.25 federal minimum as of June 1, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg Businessweek

FFRF Requests More Records From Wis. 'Commissioner of Disinformation'
At least 26 states have independent laws requiring contraceptive coverage according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. InsuranceNews.net

Combs takes part in national meeting promoting public-private partnerships
Rep. Combs served as a panelist last Friday during a conference hosted in Washington, D.C., by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association. Those serving with her included the president of the National Conference of State Legislatures and a high-ranking official in Virginia's Attorney General's office. Floyd County Times - Kentucky

Editorial: A tax break for the stars
A survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures found that, among the 39 states that have some kind of film or TV credit, several — Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Wisconsin — have ended or defunded them, while others have pared them back. Still, some, like Hawaii, have increased them. A new one started this year in Nevada. Times Union - New York
 
Paid medical leave bills to incentivize employer participation
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only three states offer paid family and medical leave: California, New Jersey and Rhode Island. Also, Connecticut is the only state that has required employers offer paid sick leave to employees. At the city level, big cities such New York, Jersey City, N.J. and Newark, N.J. have approved or revamped their paid sick time policies recently. Employee Benefit News - Arlington, VA
 
How the battle for religious freedom became a nonsensical free-for-all
However, these laws only shield folks from employment actions made directly because of race/religion/etc. "An employer may fire Jane because she failed to perform the required functions of her job, but not because she is in a wheelchair," the National Conference of State Legislatures offers as an example. Similarly, an employer can't discriminate because of religion and is expected to allow for "reasonable accommodations" of religious expression (say, allowing time off for Catholic holy days or breaks for Muslim prayer rituals). Yet the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) also stipulates that accommodating religious practices isn't necessary if "doing so would cause more than a minimal burden on the operations of the employer's business." The Week - New York 

July 29

On Virginia's political ethics, the verdict, sadly, is already in
The commonwealth is one of only four states that allow candidates to collect unlimited campaign contributions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. There must be a reason 46 other states think their way is better.The Virginia Pilot

Immigration reform is actually happening…just not on Capitol Hill
According to the most recent numbers compiled by the National Conference of State Legislators, immigration-related legislation is accelerating at the local level. A total of 184 state immigration laws were enacted and 253 resolutions adopted in 2013 — a 64 percent increase over 2012, the report said. (This number includes both pro-immigration and anti-immigration measures.) Ann Morse, the NCSL program director who helped compile the report, said the upcoming 2014 numbers are on track to show similar trends.Marianas Variaty - Saipan Islands
 
Guest Commentary/Sen. Jim Ananich - Michigan could lead on making voting easier, but no movement in Lansing
Nearly 30 states allow busy workers to arrange leave time with their employers so they can be sure to cast a ballot. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 33 states allow early voting and 27 allow absentee voting for any qualified voter without an excuse. Why should Michigan voters be denied the same opportunity to make choices about what method of votes works for them that so many other voters have? The Bridge - Michigan
 
Join the Parade
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, many states — including Nebraska, Indiana, Utah and Montana — have passed statutes authorizing industrial hemp production. The farm bill passed earlier this year by Congress also authorized universities to grow hemp for research projects. And Canada grows hemp and looks to the United States as a market for its exports. The Emporia Gazette - Kansas
 
Poll finds only token opposition to medical pot in Florida
Selling marijuana is still a federal crime. The Obama administration, however, has directed federal prosecutors not to pursue people, particularly "the seriously ill and their caregivers," who distribute and use medical marijuana in compliance with an existing state law. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized medical marijuana through a state law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Naples Daily News - Florida
 
County clerks prepare for Election Day
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, with the implementation of the law, Illinois joins a group of 11 other states and Washington, District of Columbia, that allow same-day voter registration. Saukvalley - Illinois 

July 28

Advocates hope for broader medical marijuana law
Twenty-three states and the District of Colombia have public medical marijuana programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Another 11, including Iowa, have more limited access laws.Globe Gazette/Associated Press - Iowa
 
State Rep Talks EPA Regulations With White House
Leding jumped at the chance to visit with White House staff, along with other state legislators in D.C. for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "It went well," Leding says. "It was a very brief meeting. You don't get a lot of time, but there were a number of legislators there, particularly from Kentucky, that raised some pretty serious concerns." North West Arkansas News - Arkansas
 
New health plans' limitations anger enrollees
Lawmakers in 22 states debated laws this year and last related to network adequacy, although the vast majority failed to pass, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In Washington state, administrative rules announced this spring require insurers to provide enough primary care doctors so enrollees can get an appointment within 10 days and 30 miles of their home or workplace. Directories of participating providers must be updated monthly. The Times Herald/Kaiser Health News - Michigan
 
Texas Sunset Advisory Commission earns honor
The National Legislative Program Evaluation Society awarded the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission a Certificate of Impact for 2014. The group recognized the commission demonstrating "significant impact on state government." The group is part of the 40-year-old National Conference of State Legislatures, which provides support to state legislatures. Denton Record Chronicle - Texas

July 25

South Carolina should work on traffic safety issues
The National Conference of State Legislatures observed that no state bans all cell phone use for all drivers, but 37 states and the District of Columbia ban all cell phone use by novice drivers. Greenville Online

Who Controls the Digital Data of the Deceased?
“This is one of those issues where the law has not kept up with these new technologies and accounts that have been created,” said Pam Greenberg, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “I’m sure we’ll see additional legislation in this area.” The Fiscal Times

Inside Report: Project beefs up Capitol security
Though less scientific, the National Conference of State Legislatures polled Capitols a few years ago and asked how many visitors they receive each year. California reported more than half a million visitors, as did Georgia. The Baton Rouge Advocate
 
State Legislatures to Wheeler: See You in Court
The National Conference of State Legislatures wrote FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler this week to say they would challenge the constitutionality of any attempt to preempt state laws restricting municipal broadband networks. Broadcasting and Cable-Washington
 
Cities Petition FCC to Remove State Barriers to Broadband Competition
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) is also not convinced Wheeler and the FCC have the power to pre-empt state laws regarding municipal broadband. In a July 22 letter obtained by the National Journal, the NCSL told the FCC it would constitutionally challenge any attempt to eliminate or diminish state laws. GovTech
 
Senators in Both Parties Agree: States Must Do More for Higher Education
Julie D. Bell, an education specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said states were already leading the way by setting policies that seek to improve college access and affordability, especially for the wave of low-income, minority, and first-generation students who will require a college degree in coming years. The Chronicle of Higher Education-Washington

PennDOT seeking outside help to make bridge repairs
Public-private partnerships for road and bridge work are allowed in 33 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Meadville Tribune-Pennsylvania
 
Some states easing life for immigrants
Sixteen states now offer in-state tuition rates to students who are in the country illegally and at least four other states (Hawaii, Michigan, Oklahoma and Rhode Island) seem to be moving in that direction, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Unauthorized immigrants can now get driver's licenses in 11 states and the District of Columbia. Just five years ago, no state issued the licenses. The Portland Press Herald

July 24

PennDOT seeks outside help to make bridge repairs
Public-private partnerships for road and bridge work are allowed in 33 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.The Tribune-Democrat

Preserving Online Accounts After Death
"This is one of those issues where the law has not kept up with these new technologies and accounts that have been created," said Pam Greenberg, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures. "I'm sure we'll see additional legislation in this area." InsuranceNews.net

State Legislatures to Wheeler: See You in Court
The National Conference of State Legislatures wrote FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler this week to say they would challenge the constitutionality of any attempt to preempt state laws restricting municipal broadband networks. Broadcasting Cable

States Would Sue to Kill City Internet Service
The National Conference of State Legislatures sent a letter Tuesday to the Federal Communications Commission, saying it would file a constitutional challenge against any federal action to preempt state laws limiting municipal broadband. National Journal
 
High hopes for a Senate surveillance reform vote this month — The House GOP's digital push — NCSL to Wheeler: We'll sue over municipal broadband 
The National Conference of State Legislatures is warning the FCC Chairman they won't stand for any action preempting state laws on municipal broadband. "NCSL will challenge the constitutionality of any action on the part of the Federal Communications Commission seeking to diminish the duly adopted laws of the impacted states or prevent additional states from exercising their well-established rights to govern in the best interests of the voters," the group's leadership wrote in a letter yesterday. Congressional Republicans have also taken issue with Wheeler's comments on the topic — he's said several times in recent months that the commission has the authority to preempt the state laws in question. Politico
 
States Threaten To Sue FCC Over City-Run Broadband Projects
The letter from the National Conference of State Legislatures came amid a simmering debate over the issue, which has been cranked up by recent statements from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler that city- and town-run networks "shouldn't be stopped by state laws promoted by cable and telephone companies that… Law360
 
Some states easing life for immigrants
Sixteen states now offer in-state tuition rates to students who are in the country illegally and at least four other states (Hawaii, Michigan, Oklahoma and Rhode Island) seem to be moving in that direction, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Unauthorized immigrants can now get driver's licenses in 11 states and the District of Columbia. Just five years ago, no state issued the licenses. Portland Press Herald
 
House takes its time on DNA collection changes
30 other states have legalized collecting DNA from people arrested for crimes before they're convicted, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. WITF-Pennsylvania
 
Rep. Leslie Combs thinks House will pass legislation for public-private partnerships
Combs served as a panelist last Friday during a conference hosted in Washington, D.C., by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association. Those serving with her included the president of the National Conference of State Legislatures and a high-ranking official in Virginia's Attorney General's office. Kentucky Forward
 
McCrory signs Common Core changes into law
"To replace those standards is a real sea change in terms of the work that's done on the local level," said Daniel Thatcher, a senior policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures. "It's become a boiling point at this time just because it's taken a few years to percolate to the top." Education Week/AP

July 23

States stepping in on immigration policy
Sixteen states offer in-state tuition rates to students who are in the country illegally, and at least four other states (Hawaii, Michigan, Oklahoma and Rhode Island) seem to be moving in that direction, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Bulletin

Opinion: Maine has a solution that can help deliver top-quality care to veterans
Renowned policy groups and government bodies — including the Federal Trade Commission, AARP, Institute of Medicine, National Governors Association and National Conference of State Legislatures — have examined these extensive statistics and subsequently called for more independence for nurse practitioners nationwide. Bangor Daily News

NCSL Summit Agenda Features 3 From Louisiana
State legislators from across the country will travel to Minnesota next month for the National Conference of State Legislatures' legislative summit, and at least three people from Louisiana are slated to participate in or lead sessions during the five-day event, which is meant to bring state lawmakers together for information on trends and innovations. The Baton Rouge Advocate
 
OVERNIGHT TECH: Lawmakers want to Google that for you
The National Conference of State Legislatures wrote to Wheeler Tuesday, expressing concerns about his plans to encourage local government-funded community broadband projects despite state laws that ban such projects. Earlier this year, Wheeler irked Republicans on Capitol Hill when he announced his plans to work with local governments to encourage community broadband projects — preempting state law, if necessary — to encourage competition among Internet providers. The Hill

How your car is tracking you
In an attempt to bring about more clarity, the Driver Privacy Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate earlier this year. The act specifies that EDR information is the property of the car owner and that in most cases, it can't be accessed without consent. For details on state laws, go to the National Conference of State Legislatures website, at ncsl.org. Fox News
 
US Senate Bill Lumps Online Sales Tax With Internet Moratorium
State and local Governments are said to view the taxes they cannot collect on most online sales as lost revenue. The National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures have previously calculated that the present "loophole" costs USD23bn in uncollected taxes each year. Tax-News
 
McCrory signs Common Core changes into law 
"To replace those standards is a real sea change in terms of the work that's done on the local level," said Daniel Thatcher, a senior policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures. "It's become a boiling point at this time just because it's taken a few years to percolate to the top." About 400 bills tweaking Common Core in a variety of ways were introduced in legislatures nationwide this year, Thatcher said. Salisbury Post/Associated Press
 
Local politician running for State Representative Seat and County Commission Seat - What happens if he wins both?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, this practice is usually referred to as "dual office-holding." Dual office-holding is generally defined as the practice of holding two elected offices at the same time at the state or local levels, paid or unpaid. At least 25-states in the U.S. prohibit a state lawmaker from holding a second elected position at the county or municipal level while holding the elected state position. Tennessee is not one of those states. WGNS  
 
Capitol Update: Senator Schultz: Best news of 2014
(NCSL Info Cited) The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) last month said there currently were 3,448 Democratic state legislators, 3,836 Republican state legislators, 75 legislators who were members of different parties and 24 state legislative seats were vacant. AgRiview
 
Kansas should join hemp parade
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, many states — including Nebraska, Indiana, Utah and Montana — have passed statutes authorizing industrial hemp production. The farm bill passed earlier this year by Congress also authorized universities to grow hemp for research projects. And Canada grows hemp and looks to the United States as a market for its exports. WRAL/Associated Press
 
State Rep. Leslie Combs takes part in national meeting promoting public-private partnerships
Combs served as a panelist last Friday during a conference hosted in Washington, D.C., by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association. Those serving with her included the president of the National Conference of State Legislatures and a high-ranking official in Virginia's Attorney General's office. The Lane Report
 
Does Banning Cellphones Behind the Wheel Make the Roads Safer?
Despite only covering one state, the study could have national significance on future state policy debates: Thirteen states currently ban handheld-cellphone use for all drivers, and 10 other states have some form of ban either just for younger drivers, a ban in school zones or as a local option, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Blaze
 
Advance voting underway in Johnson County for Aug. 5 primary
In the 2012 General Election, more than 40 percent of all votes tabulated in Johnson County were cast in advance of the election.  Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia now offer advance voting, by mail or in person, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Desoto Edge 

July 22

Many States Have Their Own Immigration Policies
Sixteen states now offer in-state tuition rates to students who are in the country illegally and at least four other states (Hawaii, Michigan, Oklahoma and Rhode Island) seem to be moving in that direction, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Governing

Recent Kansas editorials
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, many states — including Nebraska, Indiana, Utah and Montana — have passed statutes authorizing industrial hemp production. WRAL.com

Advance voting underway in Johnson County for Aug. 5 primary
In the 2012 General Election, more than 40 percent of all votes tabulated in Johnson County were cast in advance of the election.  Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia now offer advance voting, by mail or in person, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. DeSoto Edge

Does Banning Cellphones Behind the Wheel Make the Roads Safer?
Thirteen states currently ban handheld-cellphone use for all drivers, and 10 other states have some form of ban either just for younger drivers, a ban in school zones or as a local option, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.TheBlaze.com

McCrory signs Common Core changes into law
"To replace those standards is a real sea change in terms of the work that's done on the local level," said Daniel Thatcher, a senior policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures. "It's become a boiling point at this time just because it's taken a few years to percolate to the top." Seattlepi.com

Obamacare: Anger over narrow networks
So far, just a handful of states have moved to ratchet up their standards. They're mostly blue states that built their own Obamacare exchanges, including Connecticut, New York, Washington and California. But since the beginning of 2013, more than 70 bills have been introduced in 22 states to clarify the network rules, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Politico
 
Washington law bans kids, teens from tanning beds
Washington joins 10 other states in banning the use of UV tanning devices by anyone younger than 18, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Spokesman Review
 
Closing A Revenge-Porn Loophole in New York's Laws
As of June 2014, nine states: Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Maryland, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin, had enacted revenge porn laws. California enacted legislation in 2013,  the National Conference of State Legislators reported. In June, New York lawmakers were considering 10 different bills on the subject, according to the NCSL's overview. Pearl River Patch 

July 21

State retirement plans for the private sector
In 2013 and 2014, six states considered legislation that would establish state-sponsored retirement plans for private sector employees, says Luke Martel, senior policy specialist for the fiscal affairs program with the National Conference of State Legislatures. "We're definitely seeing increased legislative interest in the area of retirement security," Martel adds..."States are beginning to recognize that there's a crisis," says Hank Kim, executive director and counsel with the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems. They can try to address the challenge now, or wait until millions of baby boomers hit retirement without the resources they need and turn to social service agencies for help, he adds. Yahoo Finance

Should Real Estate Drones Be Banned?
Drones are hot — 43 states introduced some type of drone legislation in 2013 according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. OurBroker.com

Brian Goodroad: Expand the role of nurse practitioners for veterans
These restrictive laws have been kept in place despite the recommendations of renowned national policy organizations and government bodies — the Federal Trade Commission, AARP, Institute of Medicine, National Governors Association and National Conference of State Legislatures — that all call for more independence for nurse practitioners across the country. Post Bulletin

How your car is tracking you:You’re trading personal information for safety and convenience
The act specifies that EDR information is the property of the car owner and that in most cases, it can’t be accessed without consent. For details on state laws, go to the National Conference of State Legislatures website, at ncsl.org. Consumer Reports

Editorial - Highway Trust Fund could be heading into bankruptcy
The fund's major source of revenue, the federal gas tax, hasn't increased since 1993, so an increase of some sort is inevitable. The National Conference of State Legislatures sent Congress a letter last week urging lawmakers to bring the fund to solvency. The stakes are high: In California, the most recent crisis jeopardized $2 billion worth of construction and rehabilitation projects. And according to a White House report released this week, California has the highest annual consumer cost due to bad roads in the country. San Francisco Gate
 
In McDonnell Corruption Case, Federal Judge Rules Mostly in Favor of Prosecutors
McDonnell's lawyers contend that the former governor followed state disclosure laws, which they claim are vague and open to interpretation. Virginia is one of just 10 states that allow officeholders to take personal gifts of unlimited value, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The state requires officials to disclose any gifts worth more than $50 but does not require disclosure of gifts to immediate relatives. Combined, these provisions give Virginia one of the most lax disclosure laws in the nation. Reston Patch
 
Heroin: A deadly resurgence
At least 18 state legislatures addressed new heroin bills this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Subjects range from allowing easier access to drugs that counteract opiate/heroin overdoses for first responders and even the public, as well as leniency for low-level heroin offenders who agree to treatment. Some states also are debating legislation that would toughen sentences for major drug crimes and trafficking involving heroin. Statesman Journal
 
US states with higher minimum wages gain more jobs
And 38 states have considered minimum wage legislation this year, the most on record, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At least 16 will boost their minimums starting next year, the NCSL says. KDWN/Associated Press
 
Labor Department Data Reveals Faster Job Growth in States With Higher Minimum Wage
There are currently 22 states that have minimum wages higher than the federal requirement of $7.25. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 38 states this year have considered increasing minimum wages, the most on record, with at least 16 states expected to increase wages starting next year. Latin Post
 
S.C. second worst for number of women in the Legislature
While two of the state's most prominent officials are women - Gov. Nikki Haley and Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal - South Carolina ranks second-to-last when it comes to the number of women in the Legislature, according to data released by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Advocates say that despite some success in key positions, women are also lacking on other boards and local bodies - a national issue that is pronounced in the Palmetto State. The Post and Courier
 
Abercrombie aims to patch last wounds of fight over pension tax
Hawaii is one of just 10 states that do not tax pension income, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Tax Review Commission has explained that there is a disparity in the tax treatment of traditional pensions, known as defined-benefit plans, and individual retirement accounts and other defined-contribution plans, which are taxed. Insurance News Net/Honolulu Star
 
Keating Report: mid-year 2014 forecast on government budgets and spending-Part 3
A majority of states will meet their budgetary goals for FY2014, according to the "State Budget Update: Spring 2014" report from the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). A total of 34 states, Puerto Rico and D.C. are expected to meet their FY2014 revenue estimates, according to NCSL findings. Indeed, a total of nine states are expected to have surpluses, while seven may come up short on their revenue goals. American City and County

July 18

How states decide whether to recount election results
California is one of 46 states that allows either a candidate, voter, or election official to request a recount, according to data from Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota and the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Washington Post

Drawing undocumented immigrants out of the shadows
Sixteen states now offer in-state tuition rates to students who are in the country illegally and at least four other states (Hawaii, Michigan, Oklahoma and Rhode Island) seem to be moving in that direction, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Unauthorized immigrants can now get driver's licenses in 11 states and the District of Columbia. Just five years ago, no state issued the licenses. USA Today/Stateline
  
Cuomo allies launch 'Women's Equality' ballot line; critics dub it cynical ploy
Cuomo allies would have to gather at least 15,000 petition signatures by mid-August to create a "Women's Equality Party" line on the statewide ballot. New York is one of three states that actively allow candidates to appear multiple times on a ballot, with different party endorsements, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Newsday
 
In McDonnell Corruption Case, Federal Judge Rules Mostly in Favor of Prosecutors
McDonnell's lawyers contend that the former governor followed state disclosure laws, which they claim are vague and open to interpretation. Virginia is one of just 10 states that allow officeholders to take personal gifts of unlimited value, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reston Patch
 
Housing scene: The high cost of selling
Transfer taxes. Real estate transfer taxes are imposed by states, counties and municipalities on the transfer of title of real property within their jurisdictions. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 37 states and the District of Columbia have this levy. Charlotte Observer

July 17

Right-sizing supporters eye House-only cuts after spring fiasco
Even the prospect of cost savings is waved off by skeptics who anticipate a greater need for legislative staff. As of 2009, Pennsylvania's 2,918 permanent legislative staffers outnumbered New York's 2,676 and California's 2,067 according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. WITV-Public Radio
 
Opinion - Highway funds stalled in do-nothing Congress
The chamber of commerce and labor unions have joined to plead for longer-term action. Seven nonpartisan, state-level organizations have sent Congress a joint letter pleading for a long-term solution. These are: the National Governor's Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, The Council of State Governments, the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities, The U.S. Conference of Mayors and the International City/County Management Association. Kearney Hub News
 

Editorial: Ready to vote in your pajamas?
Loosening restrictions on absentee balloting isn't a new idea. Twenty-seven states already don't require a reason for requesting an absentee ballot, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Making voting more convenient is a win-win for Minnesota, which is known for its top turnout at elections. Albert Lea Tribune
 
House approves Common Core repeal; bill headed to Gov. McCrory
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about 100 state bills to limit or end Common Core requirements have been introduced by Republican lawmakers across the U.S. in 2014. Port City Daily
 
Behind Wismer's candidacy, groups advocate having more women in government leadership
About 23 percent of South Dakota's 105 legislative seats are currently occupied by women — 1 percent below the national average cited by the National Conference of State Legislatures — and about 26 percent of the candidates that made it through the June primary are women. The Republic/Associated Press

July 16

House approves Common Core repeal; bill headed to Gov. McCrory
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about 100 state bills to limit or end Common Core requirements have been introduced by Republican lawmakers across the U.S. in 2014. Port City Daily

Groups work to draw women into SD state government
About 23 percent of South Dakota's 105 legislative seats are currently occupied by women — 1 percent below the national average cited by the National Conference of State Legislatures — and about 26 percent of the candidates that made it through the June primary are women. Greenwich Time

Opponents of Fla. medical marijuana initiative continue to warn of likely abuses
Twenty states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized medical marijuana under state law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Tampa Tribune 

In our opinion: With arrest of Shurtleff and Swallow, it's time to consider an appointed attorney general for Utah
Regarding campaign finance laws, Utah is one of four states with no limits on campaign contributions. The others are Missouri, Oregon and Virginia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Utah also lacks disclosure: The group ranked it 40th among the 50 states in publicizing campaign contributions. Desert News

Are voter ID laws a solution or a problem? A Texas court takes up the question
Although the outcome of North Carolina’s legal fight remains to be seen, two months ago the governor of Pennsylvania said he would not appeal a court ruling that struck down the state’s voter ID law enacted in 2012, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Lubbockonline.com

States Use Ballot Initiatives to Increase Minimum Wage
Ten of those states and the District of Columbia enacted or passed an increase in the minimum wage. Increases in minimum wage legislation and ballot measures are a typical response to federal inaction, Jeanne Mejeur, a senior researcher at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said. Kansas City InfoZine

Some States Are Using An Unusual Tactic To Encourage People To Save More Money
“It’s not a government program. It’s not a safety-net program. The only role for the states is to allow the credit unions to do it,” said Qiana Flores of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Huffington Post Politics

How Much Do Illinoisans Pay in Tolls Compared to Other States?
he state's average median toll payment for passenger vehicles is $2.05, according to information from the National Conference of State Legislatures. HuffPost Chicago 

Old-style U.S. public pensions weather cost-cutting storm
State lawmakers had filed 1,234 pension bills in the first four months of 2014, according to National Conference of State Legislatures data, but few bills passed into law have made big changes. Reuters

July 15

To Encourage Saving, Some States Turn to Prizes
Nearly a dozen states believe they've found a way to encourage people to save more money—and have fun doing it.  And the idea costs not a dime in state funds. "It's not a government program. It's not a safety-net program. The only role for the states is to allow the credit unions to do it," said Qiana Flores of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Stateline

Tax Cuts of Kansas Already Improving the State's Economy
Such reinvestment is beginning to show up in the statistics. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in May Kansas touted an unemployment rate of just 4.8 percent, compared to 5.1 percent in Texas, 5.8 percent in Colorado, and 6.8 percent in Arizona. It's also way below the national unemployment rate of 6.1 percent. The New American

Multiple plaintiffs sue state Legislature
Although the outcome of North Carolina's legal fight remains to be seen, two months ago the governor of Pennsylvania said he would not appeal a court ruling that struck down the state's voter ID law enacted in 2012, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures...In all, Texas and 33 other states have passed laws requiring their voters to show government-issued photo identification before casting a ballot and 31 already enforce it, according to the Conference. Amarillo News

July 14

Cheating Spouses, Insurance Scammers Latest Drone Targets
Five states have enacted legislation prohibiting the use of drones, and 35 more are considering such legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Newsmax

Multiple plaintiffs sue state Legislature
Although the outcome of North Carolina’s legal fight remains to be seen, two months ago the governor of Pennsylvania said he would not appeal a court ruling that struck down the state’s voter ID law enacted in 2012, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures...In all, Texas and 33 other states have passed laws requiring their voters to show government-issued photo identification before casting a ballot and 31 already enforce it, according to the Conference. Amarillo.com

Oregon may have a better way to fund highway projects
If Congress doesn't act soon, a key source of state highway funds could soon begin to dwindle. A few alternative ideas have been kicking around for years, but only a handful have been tested in the real world. One of those is a Vehicle Miles Traveled fee, a way to more closely tie road funding to those who use it most and which Oregon has for years been exploring. We caught up with Oregon state Senator Bruce Starr (R) earlier this week as he and other state lawmakers were in town to lobby their federal counterparts to act. What follows is an abridged transcript of our conversation about the state's VMT test. Washington Post  
 
SD senator lobbies DC for transportation dollars
South Dakota Sen. Mike Vehle has traveled to Washington D.C. to lobby for transportation dollars with a group from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press/Yankonton Press
 
Opinion - A highway to success
In the meantime, the Chamber of Commerce and labor unions have joined together to plead for longer-term action. And seven nonpartisan, state-level organizations have sent Congress a joint letter pleading for a long-term solution. These are: the National Governor's Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, The Council of State Governments, the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities, The U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the International City/County Management Association. Star Democrat
 
Multiple plaintiffs sue state Legislature
Although the outcome of North Carolina's legal fight remains to be seen, two months ago the governor of Pennsylvania said he would not appeal a court ruling that struck down the state's voter ID law enacted in 2012, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Moreover, though in late April a federal judge struck down a similar law in Wisconsin, that law can remain in effect while the state appeals the ruling. Amarillo Daily Press
 
Laws aim to protect workers' privacy on social media
Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wisconsin approved laws this year, while Maine lawmakers voted to study restrictions. Similar legislation was introduced this year or is pending in more than 20 other states, the National Conference of State Legislatures said. The Dispatch
 
Protesters demand driver's licenses for immigrants
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 11 states, plus the District of Columbia, have laws allowing unauthorized immigrants to have licenses. Fox 13-Tampa
 
Probation officials find more female runaways, students bringing pot to school
One in seven people between the ages of 10 and 18 will run away, and 75 percent of those are female, according to statistics collected by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Waco Tribune
 
Broken emergency response system endangers Iowans
Donaldson pointed to a 2007 study by the National Conference of State Legislatures that says the relative risk of a rural victim dying in a motor vehicle crash is 15 times greater than in urban areas, after adjusting for other contributing factors. In rural settings, 87 percent of the trauma deaths involving children occur before the child can reach a hospital. Des Moines Register

July 11

How many state legislative seats are up for election in 2014?
But the National Conference of State Legislatures keeps a pretty solid running tabulation [pdf]: As of June 9, the last time NCSL's chart was updated, there were 3,448 Democratic state legislators, 3,836 Republicans and 75 members of different parties. Twenty-four seats were vacant. Washington Post
 
State lawmakers are in D.C. for a (nearly) impossible task: Persuading Congress to do something
A crew of state lawmakers from across the nation is spending Thursday in Washington to ask Congress to do something. The eight state legislators are in town to meet with their federal counterparts — as well as White House and Transportation Department staff — to coax out an extension of highway funding, which the administration says will begin to dry up next month. The issue is a top priority for state legislators, Bruce Starr, a Republican state senator from Oregon and the president of the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislators, told a handful of reporters ahead of the group's meetings on Capitol Hill and at the White House. Washington Post
 
'Peer Counseling' for Members of Congress on Highway Funding
State lawmakers were on Capitol Hill to do "peer counseling" Thursday with members of Congress on the need to put more money in the Highway Trust Fund so that states' road building can continue in the summer construction season. "We get to have a conversation that's little bit different from the usual stakeholders. We're almost speaking peer to peer," said Minnesota state Sen. D. Scott Dibble, a Democrat, before he and other lawmakers who are members of the National Conference of State Legislatures headed to the Capitol to speak to their states' congressional delegations. Roll Call
 
From Utah, A Case of 'Do It Yourself' Infrastructure
The Utah Republican was one of several members of the National Conference of State Legislatures at the Capitol Thursday to lobby their state's congressional delegations on a long-term fix for the Highway Trust Fund. Roll Call
 
The Cautionary Instruction: Pennsylvania's 'Revenge-Porn' bill awaits governor's signature
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, laws have been enacted in 10 states including Arizona, Idaho, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. At least 27 other state legislatures are considering some measure to outlaw similar conduct. Post Gazette

July 10

Banks Urged to Join Crackdown on Illegal Payday Lending
Most states specifically permit these short-term loans, often made through the lender’s acceptance of a deferred-deposit check in exchange for cash, but many of them have even lower interest-rate caps than New York’s, according to information compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. NerdWallet

Study: 35 Percent Decrease In Full-Time Statehouse Reporters Since 2003
“I think you’re seeing fewer stories,” Gene Rose, the longtime former communications director for the National Conference of State Legislatures, told Pew. “The public is not being kept aware of important policy decisions that are being made that will affect their daily lives.” CBS DC

Opinion: Governor Quinn removing obstacles to voting
Ten states and Washington, D.C., already allow same-day voter registration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Clinton Herald

The Housing Scene: Beware the high cost of selling
Real estate transfer taxes are imposed by states, counties and municipalities on the transfer of title of real property within their jurisdictions. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 37 states and the District of Columbia have this levy. Daily Tribune

Children’s products legislation leads US state activity
During the first half of this year, legislatures in 21 states took up 88 bills addressing children’s products and their chemical ingredients, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) environmental health legislation database, making it is the most active area of chemicals regulation in the US. Chemical Watch

States adopt anti-snooping laws
Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wisconsin approved laws this year, while Maine lawmakers voted to study restrictions. Similar legislation was introduced this year or is pending in more than 20 other states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Phys.org

Eschewing Lobbyists, States Advocate for Themselves
A bipartisan group of seven state legislators from Indiana, Minnesota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia also are lobbying on Capitol Hill today to push for the bill's passage, according to Mick Bullock, NCSL spokesman. "Never underestimate the power of a one-on-one meeting with your elected officials, especially a meeting in Washington, D.C.," Bullock said. "Issues just like the Highway Trust Fund directly impact states and have ramifications to states' infrastructure and economies." Stateline
 
Does Your State Protect You from Prying Employers?
Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wisconsin passed laws this year, while Maine lawmakers voted to study restrictions. Similar legislation was introduced this year or is pending in more than 20 other states, according to tracking by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Fiscal Times/Stateline
 
Would you eat here? Posters show moms breast-feeding in the bathroom
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 46 states and the District of Columbia have laws that allow breast-feeding in any public or private location. The students' campaign supports a proposal in Texas that would strengthen that state's law. NBC Today
 
Which local police agencies have drones?
Indiana is only one of five states in the U.S. to pass a law either defining or restricting the use of drones, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. WISH-TV
 
PERRY/Constitutional hunting
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, seventeen states currently guarantee the right to hunt and fish in their constitutions; all but one have passed since 1996 as amendments while "Vermont's language dates back to 1777." Additionally, two states (California and Rhode Island) constitutionally protect fishing but not hunting and a provision in the Alaska Constitution has been construed to protect both activities through case law. In additional to Mississippi, voters in Alabama will also be considering a similar amendment to their constitution. Madison County Journal
 
Ken Hare In Depth: Few Alabamians vote in costly runoff elections
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the 11 states with provisions for primary runoff elections are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Vermont.  WSFA

July 9

Poorly Drafted Drone Laws May Shield Crimes From View
(NCSL Info Cited) This ag-gag law is similar to that which appears in other states, it does not ... A map from the National Conference of State Legislatures showing the status of. Forbes 

Salter: Straight ticket would provide partisan purity
Straight ticket voting allows voters to simply decide to vote for all Republicans or all Democrats. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that only 11 states now allow pure straight ticket voting: Alabama, Oklahoma, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Kentucky, South Carolina, Michigan, Texas, Utah and West Virginia. Three other states allow limited straight ticket voting: New Jersey allows it only in primary elections, North Carolina in all races except for presidential elections, and Rhode Island only in general elections. The NCSL defines straight ticket voting as "a process that allows voters to choose a party's entire slate of candidates with just a single ballot marking. Voters make one punch or mark on the ballot in order to vote for every candidate of that party for each office on the ballot." Clarion Ledger

Talks on new highway bill accelerate
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) on Tuesday proposed a transfer of almost $20 billion from the general tax fund to help sustain transportation funding until next April. The impasse has caught the attention of state and local governments, who on Monday sent a letter to House and Senate leader… The Monday letter was signed by the “Big 7,” a group of nonpartisan organizations that advocate for state and local governments. They are: National Conference of State Legislatures, National Governors Association, Council of State Governments, National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, U.S. Conference of Mayors and the International City/County Management Association. The Washington Post

Power Shift?
Oklahoma is one of the lowest-ranked states in the nation when it comes to its male-to-female ratio of lawmakers. While the state could see a few new women lawmakers join the Legislature this election season, Oklahoma will continue to have one of the worst male-to-female ratios in the nation, according to the bipartisan non-governmental organization National Conference of State Legislatures. Oklahoma Gazette

July 8

Georgia Voices: School districts with public safety concerns should hire professionals
After 20 children and six adults died during a 2012 elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., at least nine states passed bills in 2013 authorizing armed school personnel, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Marietta Daily Journal 

The Mom’s Beat: 4 key things to know about taking maternity leave in New Jersey
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, New Jersey is one of only three states to offer paid family and medical leave for six to eight weeks. The duration depends on whether the baby is born naturally or via cesarean section. Shorenewstoday.com

Astorino seeks 'Stop the Common Core' ballot line
New York is one of three states that actively allow candidates to appear multiple times on a ballot, with different party endorsements, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. NewsDay.com

Password protected: States pass anti-snooping laws
Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wisconsin passed laws this year, while Maine lawmakers voted to study restrictions. Similar legislation was introduced this year or is pending in more than 20 other states, according to tracking by the National Conference of State Legislatures. LSJ.com

No trial planned in Arizona same-sex marriage case
Nineteen states permit gay marriages and legal challenges against bans on the practice have been filed in all 31 states that prohibit it. Proponents have won in several states this year, with appeals pending from court decisions striking down the laws in 11 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Arizona and 19 other states have challenges pending. NewsTimes.com

US Mobile Internet Consumption Doubled, Declining Landline Usage Affects State and Local Taxations
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures' manager for state-federal relations, Max Behlke, via Bloomberg, the decline of landlines is a "concern" for states and localities. He added that landlines have been "one of the most reliable revenue streams. Latin Post

Group plans to fight minimum wage ballot measure
Voters in New Jersey approved an $8.25 an hour minimum wage last year, and in 2006 voters approved minimum wage increases in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, Nevada and Ohio. In addition, state officials in California, Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island each raised minimum wages, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The State

Justice Department sues North Carolina over voter ID law
Thirty-four states have passed laws requiring voters to show some sort of identification to vote, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Washington Post
 
Ten States with the Worst Highway Spending Woes
On Monday, a number of groups, including the National Conference of State Legislatures, urged lawmakers to ensure the continued solvency of the fund. "Jobs, infrastructure projects and the safe and timely movement of freight are now at risk because of the impending insolvency of the HTF," a letter from the groups said. Yahoo Finance/State Fiscal Times
 
State, County, City Officials Urge Action to Save Highway Trust Fund
The seven largest associations representing state, county and municipal government have sent a letter to congressional leaders urging them to find a long-term solution to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent. Those signing the letter were the National Conference of State Legislatures, National Governors Association, Council of State Governments, National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, U.S. Conference of Mayors and the International City/County Management Association. Transport News
 
Tomblin urges Congress to fix shortfall in federal Highway Trust Fund
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin joined the National Governors Association on Monday in urging Congress to resolve the federal Highway Trust Fund shortfall. Other organizations urging Congress to fix the issue include: National Conference of State Legislatures, Council of State Governments, International City/County Management Association, National Association of Counties, National Governors Association, National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. WV Metro News

July 7

New Law Hopes to Combat Fatal Heart Attacks Among High School Athletes
At least 14 states have laws requiring some or all schools to have defibrillators, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Florida, Georgia, Maryland and New Jersey insist on AEDs being available in schools. New York's law requires defibrillators in all schools with more than 1,000 people. The Hartford Courant

Law: Bring your photo ID to vote
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, eight states have strict photo ID requirements: Virginia, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. Star Exponent 

Ron Southwick: Pay raise needs some sun rays
Only California offers a higher base pay for lawmakers ($90,526) than Pennsylvania, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nine states raised lawmakers' salaries last year, and most of those states have laws automatically raising legislative pay, the NCSL reports. The Reading Eagle

12 states now have plans for a minimum wage of $9 or more
By 2018, 12 states will have reached or surpassed the $9 level. Ten states and the District of Columbia have enacted increases this year alone, according to a list maintained by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). The states are: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia. Many more - 34 states - have considered doing so, according to the NCSL. Greensburg Daily News/Washington Post

DOJ LAWSUIT AGAINST NC VOTER ID LAW TO SEE TRIAL IN 2015
The National Conference of State Legislatures stated that thirty-four states have passed laws that require voters to show some sort of voter identification to vote. Breitbart

New York legalizes medical marijuana
New York will be the 23rd state, along with the District of Columbia, to allow medical marijuana in some form, according to information compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. CNN via News8000.com

State and local groups call on Congress to fix the Highway Trust Fund
The nation’s economic vitality rests, in part, on Congress coming up with a long-term fix to the Highway Trust Fund, seven state and local groups argue in a Monday letter to House and Senate leaders. The letter echoes the urgency voiced by President Obama and his administration last week, both of which warned that states could begin feeling the effects of inaction as soon early August.The Monday letter was signed by the “Big 7,” a group of nonpartisan organizations that advocate for state and local governments. They are: National Conference of State Legislatures, National Governors Association, Council of State Governments, National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, U.S. Conference of Mayors and the International City/County Management Association. Washington Post

Republicans put Democrats on defense at local levels
All told, there were 3,836 Republican members of state legislatures compared to 3,448 Democrats as of June 9, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Washington Times

New York and 11 other states to have $9 minimum wage by 2018
By 2018, 12 states will have reached or surpassed the $9 level. Ten states and the District of Columbia have enacted increases this year alone, according to a list maintained by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). The states are: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia. Many more — 34 states — have considered doing so, according to the NCSL. Daily Freeman News/Washington Post
 
Legislative Research Council has new look
One year after South Dakota lawmakers commissioned an outside review, the senior managers are gone from the Legislative Research Council. The new executive director, Jason Hancock, starts Aug. 5. The Legislature's Executive Board put the rest of the new leadership regime in place before Hancock was selected. The review was conducted at the board's request by staff for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Rapid City Journal
 
Judge to examine NC voter ID law
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 34 other states have passed bills requiring an ID to vote. Wisconsin and Pennsylvania's versions were struck down by judges earlier this year. Citizen Times/Associated Press
 
Lyft drivers, riders in Omaha area aren't braking while regulators ponder action
"States are trying to wrap their heads around what exactly these services or industries are, and what kind of regulations need to be in place," said Douglas Shinkle, a National Conference of State Legislatures analyst who is tracking the issue. The World Herald-Nebraska
 
City prepares for potential hike
A total of 38 states considered minimum wage bills during the 2014 legislative session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures website. The Daily News
 
Few women, Latinos in General Assembly
North Carolina ranks among the lower half of states in terms of female legislators, according to April data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Colorado has the highest percentage of female lawmakers, at 41 percent, while Louisiana has the lowest, at 13 percent. WRAL-North Carolina
 
Ohio Democrats and Republicans continue to battle over voter rights
When you look at the five states that border Ohio, Husted has a point. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, three of them – Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Michigan – have no early in-person voting periods and an excuse must be provided to vote by absentee ballot. West Virginia has an early in-person voting period of 13 days. In Indiana, early in-person voting begins 29 days before the election, but voters must have an excuse to cast an absentee ballot by mail. WVXU-Ohio
 
Iowa Politics Insider: Zaun targets nomination process
Eleven states have provisions for primary runoff elections, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Vermont. Des Moines Register
 
Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: Exploring ramifications of calling for a constitutional convention
The nation's founders fully expected the states to push back against the federal government if it grew too large and tried to centralize power. They specifically gave state legislators power to call a constitutional convention as a check on federal power. Utah leaders, if they have enough courage, could be in the middle of a renaissance of state clout. Gov. Gary Herbert will be National Governors Association chair from the summer of 2015 to summer of 2016 — a nice bully pulpit to champion balanced federalism. Sen. Curt Bramble is moving up in leadership in the National Conference of State Legislatures. Sen. Neiderhauser is already working on the issue. If these Utah leaders make balanced federalism a high priority and devote some real energy, they could make progress. Desert News

July 3

Where are women winning? In state legislatures
But one place where women are faring better is in state legislatures. Across the nation, nearly one-quarter (24.2 percent) of all state legislators are women, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Washington Post
 
Governor reiterates call for pension legislation; budget signing on hold
Pennsylvania and Massachusetts are the only U.S. states that began the new fiscal year without enacted budgets, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Post Gazette
 
OUR VIEW: Removing obstacles to voting
Ten states and Washington, D.C., already allow same-day voter registration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Sponsors of Illinois' bill said they'd seek to expand the law beyond November if things went smoothly. Daily Chronicle
 
Looking to improve election process
State legislators, city clerks and county officials gathered June 19 in Sun Prairie to collaborate and brainstorm ways to improve the voting process that takes place across Wisconsin by bringing together state and local leaders in a day-long conference. The National Conference of State Legislatures hosted the event, and NCSL leaders chose Wisconsin as one of the eight states, including Texas, Arkansas, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Colorado, the group will visit. Poynette Press

July 2

Bill to Require Annual Pension Reports Gaining Traction in Congress
“People should take this seriously,” says Jeff Hurley, a policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures. “The federal government is looking at the unfunded liability of state and local [governments] and connecting that to [how] those governments serve the common needs of constituents by way of infrastructure. It is very scary.” Governing

E-Cigarettes Turning into a Harmful Addiction
A report by the National Conference of State Legislatures said that 38 states have prohibited sales of electronic cigarettes to minors. International Business Times

Oregon activists submit signatures for GMO measure
There are currently 85 bills on GMO labeling in 30 states, with more than half introduced this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as well as dueling bills in Congress. The Modesto Bee

Democrats renew push to extend state financial aid to some unauthorized immigrant students
Five states offer financial aid to unauthorized immigrants students, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures: California, Minnesota, New Mexico, Texas and Washington. NJ.com

E-Cigarettes: Turning Harm Reduction Into Harm Addiction?
So far, 38 states, have already prohibited sales of electronic cigarettes to minors. This is based on a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. In addition, nearly a dozen states have passed some form of a ban in public places such as schools and government buildings. Forbes

Revenge Porn Is Still Legal in Most of America
Colorado is one of nine states to expressly bar revenge porn this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And more than two dozen others are considering legislation (a proposal in Washington, D.C., called the Relationship Privacy Protection Act, would make distributing revenge porn a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine). National Journal

Salter: Online gaming is more bad news for state casinos
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the DOJ decision opened the door to any form of online gaming over the provided it isn't the so-called "sports book." Clarion Ledger

Fred Lucas: Critics Who Claim Voter ID Laws Are Racist Won't Like the Results of This Study
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of voter ID in a 6-3 decision in 2008. Since that time, 34 states have adopted some form of ID laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Blaze

Bill abolishing R.I.'s 'master lever' signed into law by Chafee
About a dozen states, including Rhode Island, still offer the straight-ticket option, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Providence Journal

County clerks preparing for election-day voter registration law
Ten states and Washington, D.C., allow same-day voter registration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Several other Democratic-led states have approved plans expanding same-day registration or early voting. Journal Courier 

July 1

New law raises homestead exemption for disabled veterans
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 47 other states provide some property-tax relief for veterans who are completely and/or permanently disabled. This Week Community News

(EDITORIAL) Williams: Don’t create more obstacles to voting
As a result of legislation approved in 2013, Virginia is now one of eight states with strict voter ID laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Richmond Times-Dispatch

You text, you drive, you pay
New Mexico is now the 43rd state — and the District of Columbia — to ban texting messaging by drivers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Deming Headlight

Chart: Eleven states will have breached a $9 minimum wage by 2018
Eleven states in all have plans to raise their minimum wage between now and then, according to a list maintained by the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Washington Post Blog

Quinn signs Election Day registration bill
Ten other states and Washington D.C., allow same-day voter registration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Merced Sun-Star

How Republicans took over the nation’s state legislatures — in two gifs
NCSL data credited. The Washington Post

Washington state goes in circles over drone regulations
As of April, 16 states have passed some kind of drone regulation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Folkestad's drone industry group estimates that laws are in the works in an additional 20 states. L.A.Times

CBO: State, Local Jurisdictions Could Lose Millions From Internet Tax Bill
The National Conference of State Legislatures has called on Congress to pass another temporary extension that would allow states already levying an Internet access tax to continue. Bloomberg BNA

California’s minimum wage rises to $9 an hour starting Tuesday
As of June, 22 states and Washington, D.C., have a minimum hourly wage above the federal minimum of $7.25, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California’s new $9 a hour is on par with Oregon, Washington state and Washington, D.C., with the highest hourly minimum wages in the country. Modesto Bee

Law on revenge porn set to take effect in Colorado
Colorado was one of about two dozen states that considered bills this year addressing the trend of so-called revenge porn. The new law makes it a misdemeanor to publish explicit images of someone without their consent, and the crimes will carry a fine of at least $10,000. Other states that passed revenge porn laws this year were Arizona, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Maryland, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Tribune/Associated Press

Texting ban goes into effect today
New Mexico joins 43 other states and the District of Columbia in banning text messaging by all drivers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Clovis News

Georgia’s school districts not arming educators as new law takes effect
Georgia’s General Assembly isn't the first state legislature to respond to school violence by allowing school personnel to carry guns. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the 2012 Newtown Connecticut School shooting leaving 20 elementary age children and six adults dead, has led to nine states passing 2013 bills authorizing armed educators. In 2014 Georgia joined 14 others state introducing similar bills. The Examiner

Heavyweight public employee unions take a shot from Supreme Court
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a non-partisan collective of state governing bodies, 24 states have laws on the books that allow  public employees to opt out of union membership. While most of these laws were passed in the years immediately following World War II, a sudden resurgence in so-called “right to work” legislation came in 2012, when both Indiana and Michigan enacted new laws governing public employee unions operating in those states. “Right to work” legislation was introduced in 23 states last year, with Tennessee passing legislation, according to the NCSL. Sun Light Foundation 

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