NCSL in the News | July 2017

7/1/2017

July 31

Most Maryland Lifers Sentenced as Minors Request New Terms
U.S. News & World Report
Motions for new hearings in Maryland courts are more complex than similar legal battles being waged in many other states. That's because, according to the bipartisan organization National Conference of State Legislators, Maryland is among more than 20 states where judges aren't mandated to hand down life-without-parole sentences for certain offenses but may do so if they choose. Such discretionary sentences aren't explicitly covered under the Supreme Court's decision, prosecutors have argued.
 
Trump wages a broad effort to roll back gains of transgender people
The Boston Globe
The country is taking notice. Sixteen states are debating laws in 2017 that would restrict access for transgender people to bathrooms or locker rooms, according to the National Council of State Legislatures. That’s after North Carolina passed a bathroom ban bill, and then repealed portions of it after a new Democratic governor took office this year.

Man sues county so he can personally recount last year’s election votes
The San Diego Union-Tribune
The National Conference of State Legislatures says that 15 states and the District of Columbia already have, or will soon begin same-day voter registration.

Chamber of Commerce to Hear from State Legislators
West Kentucky Star
On a national level, Sen. Carroll serves as a member of the Nuclear Legislative Working Group, with the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL)

Should state legislature be part-time? 
Petoskey News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only nine other states besides for Michigan have some form of a full-time legislature.

Online sales put dent in local government coffers
Victoria Advocate
Last fall, sales tax collections were below projections in 21 states - a downtrend continued from 2015, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

5 laws create new criminal offenses in Arkansas
Arkansas Online
Before the law, sponsored by Rep. Dan Douglas, R-Bentonville, was passed, Arkansas was one of just 10 states that did not prohibit open containers for vehicle passengers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Women hold few seats in government
Daily Local News
Across the United States, women make up more than 50 percent of the population, yet hold less than 20 percent of the available seats in Congress, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Learn More About Maptitude for Redistricting at the NCSL Annual Conference
GISuser
NCSL is the only national organization to represent state legislatures in the United States and the conference allows attendees the opportunity to learn more about what other state leaders are faced with and concerned about.

July 28

Should state legislature be part-time?
If the legislature were part-time, it would force lawmakers to prioritize legislation, save millions of dollars and be more efficient, Calley said. He said it would also make Michigan’s legislature similar to most other states. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only nine other states besides for Michigan have some form of a full-time legislature.
 
Marco Rubio says Florida mandates coverage of more conditions than Obamacare
Richard Cauchi, a health insurance expert at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said that nearly half of Florida’s health care related laws were enacted before 1989 and only six in the last 10 years. 
 
Koenig Selected by House Speaker to Serve on National Committee
Rep. Adam Koenig (R-Erlanger) was appointed by Kentucky House Speaker Jeff Hoover (R-Jamestown) to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Communications, Financial Services & Interstate Commerce (CFI) standing conference committee.
 
Washington Sees Lower Rate of Violent Crime After Pot Legalization
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, eight states plus Washington, D.C., have legalized recreational use of pot, while 29 states have legalized medical-marijuana use.
 
Court ruling renews push to streamline voter ballot access
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 14 states plus the District of Columbia -- including Connecticut, New Hampshire and Maine -- currently offer same-day registration.
 

July 27

Video preview of major NCSL immigration report 
NCSL
Lawmakers approved 133 immigration related laws this year. Join the discussion with NCSL's immigration expert and get the scoop on a soon-to-be-released report.

Digital Tax Bill Sparks Friction in House Judiciary Hearing
BNA
South Dakota state Sen. Deb Peters (R), president-elect of the NCSL, was the only witness during the hearing who opposed Sensenbrenner’s proposal as an unconstitutional infringement of state rights.

Petition to End Sunday Shopping Restrictions Can Circulate
US News & World Report
The National Conference of State Legislatures says about a dozen states have some form of Sunday sales laws, but only North Dakota prohibits shopping on Sunday morning. 

Court ruling renews push to streamline voter ballot access
Boston Herald
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 14 states plus the District of Columbia — including Connecticut, New Hampshire and Maine — currently offer same-day registration.

Omaha man starts petition for ballot initiative on campaign contribution limits
Omaha World-Herald
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Nebraska is one of six states with no limits on how much a corporation can donate.

Editorials from around Pennsylvania
The San Luis Obispo Tribune
Across the United States, women make up more than 50 percent of the population, yet hold less than 20 percent of the available seats in Congress, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures

What actually happened to violent crime after Washington legalized marijuana
The News Tribune
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, eight states plus Washington, D.C. have legalized recreational use of pot, while 29 states have legalized medical-marijuana use.

Facing Crumbling Roads, States Are Finally Raising Gas Taxes for Repairs
The Fiscal Times
Kevin Pula, a policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures, says that electric vehicles are so rare that charging owners an annual fee isn’t likely to raise much revenue. 

Drones pose security threat at the nation’s prisons and what Pa. officials want to do about it
Penn Live
It joins at least eight other states - Arizona, Louisiana, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin - who prohibit drone operation near or over prisons, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Ohio carries out first execution since 2014
WENY News
Nineteen states and Washington, D.C., have no death penalty, while the federal government and US military still use capital punishment. Credit: National Conference of State Legislatures

Translating New Federal Veterans Medical Cannabis Amendment
CannaTech News
The National Conference of State Legislatures keeps the definitive U.S. list of which states have legalized medical cannabis, but not all of them allow treatment of PTSD, traumatic brain injury (TBI), or other issues that face veterans.

July 26

Bill to address over-reaching state laws draws criticism from online sales tax advocates
Bond Buyer
South Dakota State Sen. Deb Peters, testifying as president-elect of the National Conference of State Legislatures, said the bill would preclude sales tax collections from vendors attending the Sturgis Bike Rally held every summer in her home state. That’s because the proposal would exempt vendors from taxation if they are not in the state for at least 15 days. The event draws an estimated one million motorcycle enthusiasts. South Dakota has no state income tax and heavily relies on consumption taxes to pay for local and state government services, said Peters. “Remember I am a Republican from a conservative state,” she added, characterizing Sensenbrenner’s bill “a bunker buster bomb instead of a surgical swipe.’’ The National Governors Association and National Conference of State Legislatures said in a joint statement that the bill’s "audacious scope not only expands the ‘physical presence’ rule to all state and local taxes, it swells it to capture all regulations.'' They called the bill “a direct threat to representative self-government.’’

New bill would stymie state taxation of online sales
Accounting Today
At Tuesday’s hearing, Deb Peters, a South Dakota state senator and president-elect of the National Conference of State Legislatures, noted that both the MFA and the RTPA were before the subcommittee for some time, yet the hearing is on the No Regulation Without Representation Act, which was referred only six days ago. “I am disappointed why this subcommittee, in the over four years since the Marketplace Fairness Act passed the Senate, has not found time to hold a hearing on either MFA or RTPA, both of which have broad bipartisan support,” she said. “Enacting a sound, destination-based solution for sales tax collection is more important now than ever. The growth of Internet commerce and the inherent price advantage afforded to out-of-state businesses is regrettably transforming Main Street retailers into showrooms. Today’s consumers now visit stores, compare products in person, ask questions and obtain help from the store’s employees, and then shop online to avoid paying tax, sometimes even while in that store.”

States Oppose Bill Codifying Ban On Remote Sales Tax
Law360
The National Conference of State Legislatures and coalitions of retailers urged lawmakers Tuesday to ditch a bill codifying the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1992 decision barring interstate sales taxes, saying that the bill erodes state autonomy and negates significant consumer protections.

State Deduction Needed for Tax Reforms After Health Care Failure
Bloomberg
In an April letter to Congress, the Big 7, a coalition of organizations including the National Governors Association, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the National Conference of State Legislatures said eliminating or capping “federal deductibility for state and local property, sales and income taxes would represent double taxation, as these taxes are mandatory payments for all taxpayers.”

Senator Ridley named to national task force
The Gleaner
Ridley was selected to serve on the National Conference of State Legislature’s Legislative Effectiveness Committee in May.
 
FirstNet crucial for public safety
News Sentinel
I’ve learned quite a bit from my service as vice-chairman of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Law and Criminal Justice Committee. During this tenure, I served on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council and the U.S. Department of Justice GLOBAL program.

July 25

House Judiciary Posts Witnesses for Digital Sales Tax Hearing
Bloomberg BNA
Released July 21, the hearing’s witness list includes South Dakota State Sen. Deb Peters (R), president-elect of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Health Reform At The Crossroads: Progress Or Peril?
HuffPost
While data released in October 2016 projected that premiums would rise an average of 25 percent in 2017, a report released by National Conference of State Legislatures found that due to the ACA’s method of tying tax credit subsidies to premiums largely insulated those in the marketplace and the 25 percent figure did not take into account the premium tax credits.

SCOTUSblog
Monday round-up
At the National Conference of State Legislatures blog, Lisa Soronen discusses “the notorious ‘cake case,’” Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, noting that “[i]n the past three years, lower courts have decided a number of similar cases involving other wedding vendors who did not want to provide services for same-sex weddings (e.g., photographer, florist, venue owner, stationery seller),” and that “[n]one of the vendors has won thus far.” 

Judge rules state’s voter registration deadline is unconstitutional
The Boston Globe
Fourteen states, including Wisconsin, currently allow it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Gov. Scott’s tough talk on Venezuela may not turn into economic action
Tampa Bay Times
Meanwhile, there is a legal question as to whether the governor can impose sanctions on companies doing business with the Maduro regime, said Doug Farquhar, program director for trade at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Gender disparity in politics ‘stark’
The York Dispatch
Across the United States, women make up more than 50 percent of the population, yet hold less than 20 percent of the available seats in Congress, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Former Tuscon firefighter devoted to educating bicyclists about safety
Cronkite News
Meanwhile, 47 states and the District of Columbia have adopted texting bans, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Additionally, Missouri has a texting ban for novice or teen drivers.

Part time legislature is the worst choice
Petoskey News-Review
Michigan is currently one of 10 states with a full-time legislature. It is also one of four that are "full-time, well-paid, large staff" legislatures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Blind groups push to shape driverless tech
Arkansas Online
What's more, even states lacking statutes with such requirements would likely defer to current law, creating a de facto driver's license requirement, according to Amanda Essex, transportation policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

How State and Local Governments Can Overcome Economic Downturns and Fiscal Distress
MuniNet Guide
As noted by the National Conference of State Legislatures, between 2002 and 2010, nineteen states have started one or more new fiscal years without a budget, and five of them experienced partial government shut downs.

July 24

Blind groups push to shape driverless tech
Arkansas Online
Florida, Michigan and New York already have laws that require operators of automated vehicles to have a driver's license, which mandates a vision test. What's more, even states lacking statutes with such requirements would likely defer to current law, creating a de facto driver's license requirement, according to Amanda Essex, transportation policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Gov. Scott’s tough talk on Venezuela may not turn into economic action
Miami Herald
Meanwhile, there is a legal question as to whether the governor can impose sanctions on companies doing business with the Maduro regime, or if that must be left up to the federal government, said Doug Farquhar, program director for trade at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Md. must reform process for filling legislative vacancies
The Baltimore Sun
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, among states that appoint individuals to vacancies, just five states let political parties fill them.

Tougher distracted driving law to take effect in Washington
Peninsula Daily News
Amanda Essex, a transportation policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said that when Rhode Island’s law is enacted next year, 15 states plus the District of Columbia will have handheld bans on cellphones.

FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee Lacks Buy-In By Cities, States
Aviation International News
Among other members are representatives of the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Association of Counties and a Rhode Island state legislator.

Mugshot ‘extortion’ website ban signed by Christie
NJ.com
New Jersey joins more than a dozen states with similar laws on the books, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Could NH join Maine with ‘clean election’ candidates?
Seacoastonline.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Arizona, New Mexico and Connecticut, along with Maine are the only states with a public financing system for state offices in place

Coming Sunday: New state law cracks down on distracted driving
KATU
Amanda Essex, a transportation policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said that when Rhode Island's law is enacted next year, 15 states plus the District of Columbia will have hand-held bans on cell phones.

July 21

Field widens for commercial drone use beyond photography
STLtoday.com
As of this month, the National Conference of State Legislatures reports lawmakers in at least 38 states are considering drone-related measures.

As Sessions Go Long, Can Average Folks Still Serve in Legislature?
The Centralia Chronicle
In a 2014 survey conducted by the National Conference of State Legislatures, Washington lawmakers estimated on average that their elected job is equivalent to about 79 percent of a full-time position, a consultant for the organization said.

Part time legislature is the worst choice
Lansing State Journal
Michigan is currently one of 10 states with a full-time legislature. It is also one of four that are "full-time, well-paid, large staff" legislatures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures

K-12 funding caught in budget crosshairs
Education DIVE
In Illinois, Gov. Bruce Ratner’s veto of a new state budget was overridden, with an additional $350 million going to schools, while Maine’s budget was passed after a three-day shutdown — and the National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 11 states, including Texas, are considering ways to revise their school funding formulas, while new formulas established after legal battles have taken effect in Washington and Kansas.

Anti-Drone Technology Provides Key Piece to Security Puzzle; Jim O’Neill Comments
GovCon Wire
The act enjoys bipartisan support from Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn,) as well as endorsements from the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislators, the National Association of State Aviation Officials, the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Fiscal Note Names Most Effective U.S. State Legislators
Business Wire
The company will be exhibiting next month at National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Summit, August 6-9, 2017 in Boston.

July 20

Travel to Texas? Not on California’s Dime, You Don’t
The New York Times
The National Conference of State Legislatures said it knew of no similar, longstanding approach by states mired in policy disagreements with other states.

U.K. Bans Credit Card Surcharges Calling Them A ‘Rip-Off’
NPR
In the U.S., at least 11 states forbid retailers from adding surcharges to credit card transactions, according to the National Council of State Legislatures. 

West Wendover approves locale for medical marijuana dispensary, now seeks interested businesses
Salt Lake Tribune
As of April, 29 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized medical marijuana in some way, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Can average people still serve in the Legislature when sessions go months beyond schedule?
The News Tribune
In a 2014 survey conducted by the National Conference of State Legislatures, Washington lawmakers estimated on average that their elected job is equivalent to about 79 percent of a full-time position, a consultant for the organization said.

Transportation Task Force Will Meet July 26 in Kansas City
STL News
Presenting at the meeting will be Kevin Pula, senior policy specialist at the National Council of State Legislatures, and a national transportation infrastructure expert from Kansas City-based HNTB Corporation.

Petition would end North Dakota Sunday shopping restrictions
The Bismarck Tribune
The National Conference of State Legislatures says about a dozen states have some form of Sunday sales laws, but only North Dakota prohibits shopping on Sunday morning.

Can average people still serve in the Legislature when sessions go months beyond schedule?
The News Tribune
In a 2014 survey conducted by the National Conference of State Legislatures, Washington lawmakers estimated on average that their elected job is equivalent to about 79 percent of a full-time position, a consultant for the organization said.

ULC’s Uniform Regulation of Virtual Currency Businesses Act Creates Divide
ETH News
Most recently, Llew Claasen, Executive Director of the BitCoin Foundation, pleaded to the National Conference of State Legislators, a bipartisan non-governmental organization that represents staff and members of American state legislatures, to reject any and all proposed legislation modeled after the Uniform Regulation of Virtual Currency Businesses Act. 

July 19

A New Tool for When States Squabble: Travel Bans
New York Times
Although episodes of interstate political jousting are nothing new, the proliferation of travel bans among states seems to have little history behind it. The National Conference of State Legislatures said it knew of no similar, longstanding approach by states mired in policy disagreements with other states.

Blind 'Drivers' Step Up to Shape US Push for Driverless Cars
Bloomberg
Florida, Michigan and New York already have laws that require operators of automated vehicles to have a driver’s license, which mandates a vision test. What’s more, even states lacking statutes with such requirements would likely defer to current law, creating a de facto driver’s license requirement, according to Amanda Essex, transportation policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Petition would end North Dakota Sunday shopping restrictions
San Francisco Chronicle
The National Conference of State Legislatures says about a dozen states have some form of Sunday sales laws, but only North Dakota prohibits shopping on Sunday morning.

Lawmaker hopes vertical driver’s license reduces underage alcohol sales, but will it?
Knoxville News Sentinel
Other organizations associated with underage drinking and public safety - the Governors Highway Safety Association, the National Conference of State Legislators, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Mothers Against Drunk Driving - could find no evidence of a study to ascertain the effectiveness of the vertical license for minors in reducing underage drinking or highway crashes and fatalities among young drivers.
 
On Day 17 of budget impasse, Gov. Walker says “I’m confident it’ll be (done) this summer”
FOX 6 News
Wisconsin, Rhode Island and Connecticut are the only three states with unresolved budgets, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Vet-Rx wary of new possible pharmacy regulations
St. Peter Herald
The Food and Drug Administration was given more authority over compounding pharmacies, but states are the primary regulators of pharmacies through state Boards of Pharmacy, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The Arkansas Tax Relief and Reform Task Force met last week
Russellville Courier
In the meantime, members heard testimony from the National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL) comparing Arkansas's current tax structure to surrounding states.
 

July 18

Lawmaker hopes vertical driver's license reduces underage alcohol sales, but will it? 
Knoxville News Sentinel
Other organizations associated with underage drinking and public safety - the Governors Highway Safety Association, the National Conference of State Legislators, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Mothers Against Drunk Driving - could find no evidence of a study to ascertain the effectiveness of the vertical license for minors in reducing underage drinking or highway crashes and fatalities among young drivers.

Can Colorado really achieve 100 percent green energy by 2040?
The Denver Post
The closest now is Hawaii, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which has mandated 70 percent renewable energy by 2040 and 100 percent by 2045 – the final 25 percent in five years.
 
On Day 17 of budget impasse, Gov. Walker says “I'm confident it'll be ...
fox6now.com
Wisconsin, Rhode Island and Connecticut are the only three states with unresolved budgets, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. The governors of Michigan and Massachusetts signed their state budgets on Monday.

States taking up Internet privacy
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
At least 21 states have filed measures responding to the federal repeal, according to a tally kept by the National Conference of State Legislatures, which conducts policy research for state governments.

A severance tax needs to be part of the final budget deal, here’s why
PennLive
At least 36 states impose a severance tax of some kind, 31 on oil and/or gas, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Senator Ridley named to national task force
The Gleaner
Ridley was selected to serve on the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Legislative Effectiveness Committee in May.
  

July 17

Winners and losers of the biggest state political battles of the year so far
Washington Post
Arturo PĂ©rez with the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures said the national economy is on the up since the 2008 economic crash, but states' revenue has not kept pace. In fact, states' average rate of growth since then is at a 50-year low.

New Feature Film 'Arizona' Is Being Shot in New Mexico
U.S. News & World Report
In 2016, 37 state and Puerto Rico offered film incentive programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. It notes several states are tightening the requirements for qualifying expenses and scaling back on per-project and annual program caps.

K-12 Funding Entangled in States' Budget Drama
Education Week
At least 11 states are in the process of overhauling their school funding formulas, an unusually high number, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Can Colorado really achieve 100 percent green energy by 2040?
The Denver Post
The goal would be uniquely ambitious among states. The closest now is Hawaii, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which has mandated 70 percent renewable energy by 2040 and 100 percent by 2045 — the final 25 percent in five years!

States taking up Internet privacy
Arkansas Online
At least 21 states have filed measures responding to the federal repeal, according to a tally kept by the National Conference of State Legislatures, which conducts policy research for state governments.

In this age of email and state budgetary woes, lawmakers don't need multiple district offices
LancasterOnline
About half of the legislative chambers in the nation don’t allow members to lease and staff district offices at taxpayers’ expense, according to a 2013 survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures published in 2014.
 

July 14

Jon Huntsman Sr., four-time cancer survivor, says he’d ‘love to’ try medical marijuana
The Salt Lake Tribune
As of April, 29 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized medical marijuana in some way, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

NC Lawmakers Consider Another Voter ID Bill
WFAE 90.7
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are seven states with strict photo ID measures and another three have strict non-photo identification rules. 

St. Louis, Kansas City Take Stock Of Minimum Wage Being Hikes Undone By GOP Lawmakers
KCUR 89.3
Almost 30 states and Washington, D.C., have minimum wages that are higher than the federal $7.25 an hour, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

2017 Driving in America Report: The Costs and Risks (NerdWallet)
Cleveland.com
To address cell phone use by drivers, 46 states and Washington, D.C. have banned texting on a phone (other than hands-free) while driving, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

July 13

Five U.S. states face budget uncertainty in new fiscal year
Reuters
The budget will immediately go into effect if the governor does not take action, said Erica MacKellar, a senior policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

From dog treats to massage oils, hemp sales soar, and medical pot industry wants in
Chicago Tribune
Seventeen states allow the sale of CBD products with low THC content, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures. That's in addition to the 29 states that allow medical marijuana.

Tax panel rejects bids to analyze state’s code
Arkansas Online
Kathleen Quinn, a research analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said North Carolina has enacted individual and corporate income tax changes by lowering tax rates and broadening the base for both taxes in recent years.

State Capitol Week in Review
Van Buren County Democrat
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 22 states had to adjust spending this fiscal year to meet budget shortfalls.

States May Limit AT&T, Comcast In Response to FCC Repeal of Customer Data Protections
Government Technology
At least 21 states have filed measures responding to the federal repeal, according to a tally kept by the National Conference of State Legislatures, which conducts policy research for state governments.

Learn More About Maptitude for Redistricting at the NCSL Annual Conference
Directions Magazine
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Annual Conference will be held August 6-9, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts (USA).

July 12

State and local government defend tax deduction in GOP crosshairs
The Hill
The groups that issued the report are: The Government Finance Officers Association, the National Governors Association, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Council of State Governments, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties, the International City/County Management Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers.

Pennsylvania’s Governor Hasn’t Signed a Budget in 3 years
Governing
As of Monday, seven states that operate on July1-June 30 fiscal years had not passed full budgets, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Tax panel rejects bids to analyze state's code
Arkansas Online
Kathleen Quinn, a research analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said North Carolina has enacted individual and corporate income tax changes by lowering tax rates and broadening the base for both taxes in recent years.

St. Louis, Kansas City take stock of minimum wage hikes being undone by GOP lawmakers
St. Louis Public Radio
Almost 30 states and Washington, D.C., have minimum wages that are higher than the federal $7.25 an hour, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

RI could mis sup to $2.5M in monthly revenue in budget impasse drags on
WPRI
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of Tuesday Rhode Island is one of only three states where lawmakers still have not sent a budget bill to the governor, along with Connecticut and Wisconsin.

For the first time since the end of the recession
The Courier Online
In fact, a recent report from the National Conference of State Legislatures suggests 22 states are addressing budget shortfalls as their fiscal year comes to an end.

July 11

St. Louis, Kansas City take stock of minimum wage hikes being undone by GOP lawmakers
St. Louis Public Radio
Almost 30 states and Washington, D.C., have minimum wages that are higher than the federal $7.25 an hour, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. MIT’s calculator for a living wage shows that a sole provider for a one-adult, two-child family in St. Louis needs to earn $26.44 an hour at a full-time job. In Kansas City, that figure is $26.77 an hour.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf to let budget become law
Allentown Morning Call
As of Monday, seven states that operate on July1-June 30 fiscal years had not passed full budgets, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Medical marijuana gives hope to families
The Alliance Review
Most states define hemp as a variety of cannabis with a low THC concentration used for industrial purposes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Legislators eyes expansion to cover financial shortfall
The Titusville Herald
Four states — Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky and Michigan — allow online lottery play, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Jeannette police might join growing number of departments using drones
The Tribune Review
Forty-three states have passed either legislation or resolutions, and lawmakers in other states are considering measures, to govern how police and other agencies use the technology that has been gaining in popularity over the past several years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Shared School Bus Seat Belt Experiences At STN Expo
School Transportation News
At right, moderator Amanda Essex of the National Conference on State Legislature addresses lap-shoulder seat belt issue with panelists, from left, Charlie Ott of Fremont Unified School District in California, Cindy Steigerwald of Mukilteo School District in Washington and Tom Cohn of Helena Public Schools.

July 10

U.S. Judge Rejects Texas Professors’ Bid to Halt Student Gun Carry
U.S. News & World Report
As of the start of May, 10 states had provisions allowing the carrying of concealed weapons on public college campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks state laws.

States could revive online privacy rules killed by Trump
Chicago Daily Herald
At least 21 states have filed measures responding to the federal repeal, according to a tally kept by the National Conference of State Legislatures, which conducts policy research for state governments.

Urban-rural divide exacerbates opioid crisis, despite prescription drop
The Hill
State lawmakers have considered more than 1,000 measures in recent years to confront the opioid epidemic, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Thirteen states have passed new laws to limit the length of opioid prescriptions or the number of pills prescribed over the last two years.

OBX ban on plastic bags survives misguided attempt to reverse it
The Virginian Pilot
More than 150 communities ban the bags, a senior policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures told me Friday. The organization notes California has a ban (though it had to survive a voter referendum in November). Chicago, Seattle and Austin, Texas, also ban plastic bags. 

Working for less: Major city drops minimum wage more than $2 
FOX 29
FOX 29 researched and according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the federally mandated minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, Pennsylvania's is the same, New Jersey's is $8.44 (increased annually based on the Consumer Price Index), and Delaware's is $8.25.

DNA Advancements Laid Before Kentucky Judiciary Panel
The River City News
She appeared before the committee with KSP Lt. Col. John Bradley and DNA database supervisor Regina Wells to discuss the idea of DNA collection upon felony arrest—something that 31 states now allow for some or all felony arrests, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Arkansas House: State draws revenue from many sources
Magnolia Reporter
In fact, a recent report from the National Conference of State Legislatures suggests 22 states are addressing budget shortfalls as their fiscal year comes to an end.

Highlights of Pa.’s gambling expansion negotiations
The Sentinel
Four states — Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky and Michigan — allow online lottery play, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Medical marijuana gives hope to area families
The Times Reporter
Most states define hemp as a variety of cannabis with a low THC concentration used for industrial purposes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

A no-drama budget cycle 
The Robesonian
In 2010, the National Conference of State Legislatures ranked North Carolina’s budget gap as the nation’s fifth-worst and the worst in the Southeast.

Pennsylvania must do more to encourage organ donation, but compensation raises ethical questions
Lancaster Online
But according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 29 states have laws that provide for tax deductions or exemptions for organ transplantation. 

July 7

ISP Privacy Battle Moves to the States
Associations Now
According to a recent analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures, lawmakers in 21 states have introduced measures that would restrict the ways ISPs collect and use customers’ personal information. The bills began to emerge earlier this year after Congress repealed privacy rules implemented by the Federal Communications Commission in the waning months of the Obama administration. Both the initial rulemaking and the repeal proved controversial.

Another travel ban in the US is igniting a backlash
CNBC
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, five states lack any statewide legal protections against discrimination for individuals who are not disabled: Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas.

States consider limited internet service providers' access to user data 
Chicago Tribune
At least 21 states have filed measures responding to the federal repeal, according to a tally kept by the National Conference of State Legislatures, which conducts policy research for state governments.

Pittsburgh raised minimum wage for its workers, but $15 an hour is years away
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Minimum wages in 29 states exceed a $7.25 per hour minimum set by the federal government, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Mass. One of six states still in budget limbo
Sentinel and Enterprise
After Maine and New Jersey reached deals to end their government shutdowns, just six states remain in budgetary limbo: Massachusetts, Oregon, Wisconsin, Illinois, Rhode Island and Connecticut, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Voter signup deadline tested
The Patriot Ledger
Other states, including some in New England, have same-day registration. Nationwide, more than a dozen states allow voters to register and cast ballots on the same day, according the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Kentucky Lawmakers Consider Self-Driving Car Regulations
WFPI
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states have passed legislation dealing with the testing and regulation of self-driving cars.

ISP Privacy Battle Moves To The States
Associations Now
According to a recent analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures, lawmakers in 21 states have introduced measures that would restrict the ways ISPs collect and use customers’ personal information.

July 6

States May Shackle AT&T, Comcast on Web Data After US Retreat
Bloomberg
At least 21 states have filed measures responding to the federal repeal, according to a tally kept by the National Conference of State Legislatures, which conducts policy research for state governments.

Decoding the White House spin on Obamacare ‘failures’
The Washington Post
For 2017, the average increase in premiums before subsidies was 25 percent, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Lawsuit challenging voter cutoff rule being heard in court
Boston Herald
Nationwide, more than a dozen states allow voters to register and cast ballots on the same day, according the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Mass. Among half-dozen states still without a budget
Sentinel & Enterprise Breaking News
After Maine and New Jersey reached deals to end their government shutdowns, just six states remain in budgetary limbo: Massachusetts, Oregon, Wisconsin, Illinois, Rhode Island and Connecticut, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Mass., R.I. among half dozen states without budgets in place
Tuanton Daily Gazette
After Maine and New Jersey reached deals to end their government shutdowns, just six states remain in budgetary limbo: Massachusetts, Oregon, Wisconsin, Illinois, Rhode Island and Connecticut, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Why states pass budgets despite rising political divide
The Christian Science Monitor
Every state except Vermont must balance its budget, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (although by other definitions only 46 states have balanced-budget laws).

Casino industry ramps up effort to repeal sports betting ban
IllinoisWatchdog.org
Among the groups that want to lift the ban is the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), whose standing committee recently voted in favor of the idea of lifting the congressional ban on sports betting, according to Jake Lestock, a policy specialist with the NCSL.

Politics is the real-life realization of activism
Rollingout
I have held executive positions for a number of national and regional legislative committees and policy organizations to include the National Caucus of State Legislators (NCSL), National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) and The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus (PLBC).

Overdue Mass. Budget’s base a ‘moving target’
Telegram.com
Massachusetts is now among six states without a fiscal 2018 budget, including New England neighbors Rhode Island and Connecticut, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

July 5

Decoding the White House spin on Obamacare 'failures'
Washington Post
State-by-state weighted average increases range from as low as single-digit increases to more than 100 percent. For 2017, the average increase in premiums before subsidies was 25 percent, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

States Mired in Budget Paralysis Defy Eight-Year Recovery
Bloomberg Politics
“We’re in the eighth year of recovery from the Great Recession,” said Arturo Perez, the fiscal affairs program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures, a Denver-based bipartisan group that studies and lobbies for state governments, who took a break from vacation to talk by telephone. “This is somewhat unprecedented.”

Beyond New Jersey and Maine, seven other states also have no budgets
Reuters Business
Oregon is "just finishing up," said Hicks. The state government is working through the budget agency by agency, said Savannah Gilmore, a research analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, who estimated the process should be finished fairly soon.

States yanking electric-car incentives and slapping on new fees to pay for infrastructure
CNBC
Since 2013, 24 states and the District of Columbia have moved to raise their gas tax, including five states just this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Medical marijuana dispensary may open in West Wendover – but your Utah doctor can’t write you a prescription
The Salt Lake Tribune
As of April, 29 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized medical marijuana in some way, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures

Phoenix emerging as Mich. Rival for self-driving tests
The Detroit News
Eighteen states, including Michigan, have passed laws to address autonomous vehicles; governors in four other states have issued executive orders, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Hey Texplainer: Why can’t all Texans vote by mail?
The Texas Tribune
However, 22 states allow some elections to be conducted entirely by mail, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

How close is Russian cyber firm to Russia’s spies?
The Charlotte Observer
The firm’s presence has become so embedded in the U.S. economy that the company sponsors a Ferrari Formula One racing team, robotic competitions for children and is among the corporate sponsors of an upcoming conference of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Kansas law permits concealed carry on college, university campuses
The Joplin Globe
The National Conference of State Legislatures says Kansas is among 10 states allowing campus carry, with Arkansas and Georgia enacting laws this year.

How Open-Container Laws Work Across the U.S.
Cars.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 40 states and the District of Columbia have laws that prohibit drinking from, or even possessing, open containers of alcohol in the passenger area of a motor vehicle.

July 3

Trump reopens fight on internet sales tax
The Hill
Max Behlke, director of budget and tax policy for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said that if the Supreme Court overturns its 1992 ruling, state and local governments will probably no longer want Congress to provide a solution.

Phoenix emerging as Mich. rival for self-driving tests
The Detroit News
Eighteen states, including Michigan, have passed laws to address autonomous vehicles; governors in four other states have issued executive orders, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Trump names Marylander with little elections experience to controversial elections panel
The Baltimore Sun
Nine states, including Maryland, have independent boards overseeing elections, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Only 6 St. Louis-area schools have a clear restroom policy for transgender students
St. Louis Public Radio
Missouri was one of 16 Republican-controlled states that considered a so-called “bathroom bill” during the 2017 legislative session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Kansas college campuses brace for concealed guns under law
Nebraska TV
The National Conference of State Legislatures says Kansas is among 10 states allowing campus carry, with Arkansas and Georgia enacting laws this year. 

Industrial Hemp Pilot Program Set to Begin in Wayne County
Spectrum News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, roughly 20 states have passed legislation allowing the growth and research of industrial hemp.