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NCSL in the News: June 2011

NCSL in the News: 2011

NCSL in the News Archives

NCSL in the News: June 2011

June 30

RI Senate votes 21-to-16 for civil unions
With passage, Rhode Island joins four other states — Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey and Delaware — that have legalized civil unions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Providence Journal

Deadlock on debt dangerous, Fallin says
Michael Bird, federal affairs counsel for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said the nation has never breached its debt limit. "States and local governments have got to be very wary and vigilant." Tulsa World

Legislatures reject home fire sprinkler laws, to help home builders
In other states, sprinkler legislation died or is pending until next year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/Washington Post

In Alaska, industry ready to invest in Knik crossing
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the P3 agreements benefit the state by allowing it to focus on a desired outcome instead of detailed project specifications. Anchorage Daily News

Lower-rated hospitals pay biggest penalty on debt since 2009: muni credit
Thirty-one states have proposed cuts to Medicaid and other health programs in 2012, according to data collected by the National Conference of State Legislatures.Bloomberg

June 29

NJ considering ban on fracking despite little gas
Jacquelyn Pless, an analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said no other state has banned the practice.AP/Wall Street Journal

Red-light camera backlash, are they causing accidents?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, nine states have banned red-light cameras. ABC News

Nancy Hicks: Hauling dirt to the arena, 24/7
Nebraska will lose an estimated $118 million in sales tax next fiscal year to online purchases, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Lincoln Journal Star

 NJ governor signs bill shifting more costs to workers
"The more states that act, the easier it is for additional states to act," said Ron Snell of the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Seattle Times

Hispanics flee Alabama’s immigration law
Bills expanding immigration-law enforcement were introduced in 28 state legislative sessions this year, according to a Bloomberg analysis of measures identified by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg

Rebecca Forest says few Latino legislators served in states that passed immigration enforcement measures
As Forest said, the Texas House and Senate include 37 Hispanic members, comprising 20 percent of the state’s 181 legislators, according to a state-by-state count by the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. PolitiFact

Spending cuts seal California budget deal
For fiscal 2012, which begins for most states on July 1, states face cumulative gaps of $86 billion, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Financial Times

Mo. ballot measure aimed at initiative petitions
Missouri is among 24 states that allow initiative petitions with 10 states restricting the Legislature's ability to alter them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/Albany Times Union

Speaker Straus appoints Representative Carter to NCSL committee
Speaker Joe Straus has recently announced the appointment of Representative Stefani Carter (Dallas) to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Agriculture & Energy Committee. Texas Insider

June 28

'Jackass' star's death prompts Westboro rally
Arizona, Arkansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Wyoming already have passed laws governing protests at funerals, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Statesman Journal

Potential shutdown could cost millions while causing long-term damage
Todd Haggerty, a research analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said such hard decisions have required more time for leaders to reach agreements in many states. Minnesota Public Radio

Georgia insurance law effective July 1
Richard Cauchi, health program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said two other states -- Wyoming and Rhode Island -- have passed similar laws. AP/Forbes

California's new independent redistricting process could endanger 5 Republican House seats
Only seven states give first and final authority for congressional line drawing to a commission, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Washington Post

New Hampshire governor vetoes voter photo ID bill
Fourteen states now ask voters to show photo identification at the polls or have passed laws to do so, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters

Counter-rallies may work best
Arizona, Arkansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Wyoming already have passed laws governing protests at funerals, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Commentary in Herald Times Reporter

NC Gov. Perdue vetoes abortion restrictions bill
North Carolina is one of 16 states that don't require specialized counseling before an abortion, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Sacramento Bee

New Film Tax Incentives Make Maryland More Competitive
Todd Haggerty, a policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures who tracks state-by-state film incentives said that the recession has led many states to look at their programs. Citybizlist (press release)

Franklin County area police log: reckless endangerment
More than 20 other states have banned bath salts by law or regulation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Chambersburg Public Opinion

Proposal would create Latino-heavy legislative districts
Currently the Bay State has six Latino legislators on Beacon Hill, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. Eagle Tribune

ASD Students Sweep Project Citizen for the Fifth Time
Project Citizen is sponsored by the National Council of State Legislators Conference, and is known as the civic education program that promotes competent and responsible participation in state and local government. Allen Town

 

June 27

More efficient cars creating challenges for highway funding
In a fifth state, Missouri, a bill was proposed to expressly prohibit mileage-based fees, according to Nick Farber, of the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. The Colorado Independent

How will New York's gay marriage law affect the 2012 election and beyond?
In all, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 37 states have laws defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Christian Science Monitor

Police: Caretaker injects bath salts
More than 20 other states have banned bath salts by law or regulation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Chambersburg Public Opinion

North Carolina Gov. Perdue vetoes malpractice cap, OKs work comp bill
More than 30 states have a limit or cap on damages in medical liability cases, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Insurance Journal

With NC no stranger to legal challenges, arguments rise again over race and redistricting
Tim Storey, a redistricting expert at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said lawsuits aren't uncommon because the stakes are so high. AP/The Republic

Pharmacies balk at giving donated drugs to patients
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 38 states and Guam have enacted drug donation laws. Las Vegas Review-Journal

Branstad, Miller say governor can avert shutdown
Others, like Minnesota, have experienced at least partial shutdowns that have lasted from four hours to nine days, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. DesMoinesRegister

N.C. Gov. Perdue signs bill targeting undocumented workers
North Carolina is one of 17 states, including South Carolina, that have some form of E-verify requirements, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Myrtle Beach Sun News

National impact from New York marriage law: experts
Currently, 39 states have laws defining marriage as between a man and a woman, according to statistics from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters

Gay Advocates Say New York Could Be Model for Other States
... of same-sex marriage in 2008, but voters passed a referendum later that year to prohibit it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. WGRZ-TV

Same-sex marriage in the United States: A status check
I turned to the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Human Rights Campaign to get an update on the state of laws on same-sex marriage. Washington Post (blog)

Perdue vetoes bill that would cap certain jury awards in NC
More than 30 states have a limit or cap on damages in medical liability cases, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Republic

Expert warn legislators on child welfare privatization
States show the benefits are not clear-cut, said Jack Tweedie, director of the National Conference of State Legislatures' Children and Families Program. Kearney Hub

June 24

The $1.5 billion loophole
The National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures developed the concept in 1999. Originally adopted in 2002 and amended since, the agreement aims “to simplify sales and use tax collection and administration by retailers and states.” Gulf Coast Business Review

North Carolina governor vetoes voter photo ID bill
Fourteen states now ask voters to show photo identification at the polls or have passed laws to do so, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters

Legislators hope new laws slow Nevada foreclosures
At the beginning of the crisis, state legislatures around the county started with payment assistance programs that padded the initial impact of giant mortgage payments, according to Heather Morton, an analyst who tracks state bills with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg Business Week

Road builders present case for tolling existing highways
Therefore, we need to get a message before the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures. TheTrucker.com

Wash. teen crusades against ticketing traffic cams
The nine states that have banned red-light cameras are Arkansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire, West Virginia and Wisconsin, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP on ABC 11 (Raleigh, NC)

Ohio House opts not to put health overhaul to vote
The National Conference of State Legislatures says lawmakers in Alabama, Florida and Wyoming are putting similar measures before voters next year. Bloomberg Business Week

Maine voting rule to go on ballot
The National Conference of State Legislatures says seven states besides Maine — Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and Wyoming — also allow registration on Election Day. Two other states, Ohio and North Carolina, permit same-day registration on special early-voting days before the regular election, NCSL said. AP in Boston Globe

Editorial: Cyberbullying law a cure worse than problem
Cyberbullying definitely is a problem, and most states have passed laws the last few years to protect potential victims and punish perpetrators, according to the website of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Knoxville News Sentinel

Corbett signs law banning 'bath salts'
More than 20 other states have banned bath salts by law or regulation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Daily American

‘Jackass’ Star’s Death Prompts Rally—Maybe Protests
Arizona, Arkansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Wyoming already have passed laws governing protests at funerals, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. North Country Gazette

Ballot Law Update: Battles continue over TABOR and traffic cams
Since the beginning of the year, 229 laws have been proposed in 40 states affecting the initiative and referendum process, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Ballot News

June 23

CA lawmakers feel financial loss for late budget
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures based in Denver, the full-time California Legislature is the highest paid in the nation. Many legislatures serve part-time. AP in Forbes

Autism therapy coverage nears OK
In general, the autism mandate would increase the cost of health insurance by 1 percent, according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Providence Journal

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s veto of ban on texting while driving unprecedented
Perry is the first governor to veto such a bill, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nonpartisan group. Dallas Morning News

Ohio House opts not to put health overhaul to vote
The National Conference of State Legislatures says lawmakers in Alabama, Florida and Wyoming are putting similar measures before voters in 2012. AP in the Lancaster Eagle Gazette

Bryant appointed to national legislative budget study panel
Ralston named Bryant to serve on the Budgets and Revenue Committee of the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures through late next year. Savannah Morning News

Botched budget means no pay for Calif. lawmakers
Few other states have late budget problems, according to Arturo Perez of the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. AP in the Deseret News

Tensions mount as lawmakers struggle to reach agreement a week until deadline
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 31 states have annual sessions and annual budgets, 15 states have annual sessions but biennial budgets, and four states only meet and pass budgets every other year. Iowapolitics.com

South Carolina is fifth state to pass illegal-immigration crackdown
According to Ann Morse at the National Conference of State Legislatures, none of the still-pending immigration bills has yet to pass one house of a state legislature--which means it could be a while before another state follows the lead of Arizona, Utah, Indiana, Georgia, Alabama and now South Carolina. Yahoo News

City wants new hires to live in Wildwood
The bill makes New Jersey the first in the country to take public employee residency requirements to this level, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Wildwood Shore News Today

Sen. Evans: Pay ban creates constitutional crisis
Few other states have late budget problems, said Artery Perez of the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. Press Democrat

Salvatore Dimasi scheme leads to ethics review
The two legislators say the changes are based on practices they observed in dozens of other state legislatures, as well as recommendations from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). ThirdAge.com

Post-DiMasi, Mass GOP backs higher campaign donation limit
Buckley directed the News Service to a National Conference of State Legislatures spreadsheet showing many states across the country have significantly higher donation limits than Massachusetts, especially for statewide office seekers, with several states allowing unlimited contributions. Boston Herald

June 22

Mass. GOP to propose changes to House ethics code
House Minority Leader Brad Jones of North Reading and Norfolk Republican Rep. Dan Winslow are pushing the changes, which they say are based on the practices of a dozen other states and recommendations from the National Conference of State Legislatures.  AP in the Boston Globe

Pennsylvania House looks set to approve voter-identification bill
As many as 30 states are considering voter-identification legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Thirteen - including Indiana, Georgia and Florida - now require photo identification. Sixteen ask for nonphoto ID.  Philadelphia Inquirer

California legislators lose pay in budget jam
California legislators were the highest paid in the U.S. as of last year, with an annual salary of $95,291, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That works out to a loss in salary of $261 a day. They will also lose a per diem of $142.  Wall Street Journal

New front in benefits fight, Atlanta may drop pensions
Across the country,State legislators have filed more than 3,400 bills this year to deal with a trillion-dollar retirement-benefits gap, said Ron Snell, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures. The result, he said, has been major change in 21 states.  Wall Street Journal

Voter photo ID
"I very rarely see one single issue come up in so many state legislatures in a single session," Jennie Bowser, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures, told USA Today.  Editorial in the Las Vegas Review-Journal

Sen. Evans: Pay ban creates constitutional crisis
Few other states have late budget problems, said Arturo Perez of the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. Only New York and Guam withhold pay from lawmakers if they fail to meet their budget deadline, he said.  Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Loss motivates MADD advocate
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, eleven states — Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oregon Utah, and Washington - have mandatory ignition interlock provisions for all offenses.  Ultimate CyFair

Mich. proposal would require employment screening
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 16 states have some form of an E-Verify mandate.  AP in the Argus Press

June 21

Ten Days and Counting: Why Minnesota's government could shut down July 1
Since 2002, there have been six state government shutdowns, the shortest lasting only hours, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. Time

County hopes sales dry up of 'bath salts'
More than 20 states already have banned bath salts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Beacon Journal in Ohio.com

Stopgap budget would be Iowa first
"Not many people would say there is a huge impact on the level of services," Haggerty said. "That being said, if you're trying to do long-term planning for your agency, it makes it more difficult until you see the final budget."  Des Moines Register

Texas likely to set bar: Other states watching as anti-sanctuary cities legislation goes to vote
If the state approves the legislation, it will join at least six others -- Arizona, Utah, Georgia, Indiana, Alabama and South Carolina -- that have passed large-scale measures targeting various aspects of federal immigration policy, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. El Paso Times

Pension’s perks for members with a past
The National Conference of State Legislatures tallied 263 former state legislators among the 112th Congress as of December. Roll Call

Breastfeeding cover addresses social and emotional challenges of breastfeeding in public
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only 28 states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws. PR Web

State park managers brace for shutdown
Here, as in 21 other states, there’s no way to keep government operating past the end of a budget period without legislative action, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Fergus Falls Journal

Statehouse beat: Smoking bans work
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 43 states now have smoke-free laws, including 26 states where the bans are total, applying to all workplaces, restaurants and bars. Gazette-Mail

June 20

Colorado mulls over direct citizen amendment laws with national implications
The Colorado Independent reported that the National Conference of State Legislatures found that initiatives have increasingly become the handiwork of special interest groups outside of the state. The Washington Independent

The big business of synthetic highs
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 32 states have enacted legislation banning various types of synthetic cannabinoids. And another 18 have legislation pending to enact new laws or increase the penalties. MSNBC

Minnesota shutdown threatens weddings, much more
Here, as in 21 other states, there's no way to keep government operating past the end of a budget period without legislative action, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Forbes

More states require IDs to vote
“It’s remarkable,” Jennie Bowser, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said of the proliferation of new laws. In all, 33 states have considered new voter ID laws this year. “I very rarely see one single issue come up in so many state legislatures in a single session,” she said. “This issue has historically fallen along stark partisan lines. Democrats tend to oppose voter ID, and Republicans tend to favor it. This year, there are a lot of new Republican majorities in legislatures.” USA Today

Texting while driving still allowed in Florida
In 2010 it considered 11 bills regarding distracted driving but passed none, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, an organization that tracks state legislation. Ocala

Minnesota shutdown threatens weddings, much more
Here, as in 21 other states, there's no way to keep government operating past the end of a budget period without legislative action, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Herald Extra

Summer vacation? Minnesota's budget impasse could force 2nd shutdown since 2005, stop services
Here, as in 21 other states, there's no way to keep government operating past the end of a budget period without legislative action, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP

RI Courts may have last say on public-sector pensions
Still, what can and can’t be cut is “a gray area,” with pending lawsuits across the country challenging various pension reforms, according to Ron Snell, a senior fellow with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Providence Journal

Jackson blasts voter ID legislation at conference
Twenty-seven states now require photo identification from voters and 33 have considered adding or strengthening voter identification requirements this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. FOX 59 Indianapolis

NC lawmakers want employers to check immigration status when hiring
North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia are among 16 states that require some use of E-Verify before hiring, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. FOX 8 North Carolina

Jackson kicks off 40th Rainbow Push conference
Eight states have passed laws requiring voters to produce photo ID cards before they’re allowed to cast regular election ballots, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Chicago Tribune

La.'s redistricting plans in national spotlight
"Other states will be watching this very, very closely since it is likely to be the first major redistricting plan to get preclearance, or denial, from this Justice Department in this cycle of redistricting," said Tim Storey, a senior fellow with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Shreveport Times

Ore. Lawmakers: Co-Governance session historic, not historically productive
Tied chambers are actually a lot more common than most people think. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there has been at least one tied chamber in every even-year election since 1984. KUOW

Redistricting Guides: A Sampler
The National Conference of State Legislatures also provides links to the web sites set up in the states to educate and update the public on the process. NPR

Bill would mandate repayment Of federal money in privatizations
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 30 U.S. states and Puerto Rico have put in place legal frameworks for authorizing public-private partnerships for transportation projects--including new laws approved this year in Ohio and North Dakota--up sharply from 23 in 2006. Another five states are considering such legislation. Wall Street Journal

Political Notebook: Mixing politics, social media comes with risks
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that about 20 states have started a budget cycle without a budget since 2002 and five dealt with partial government shutdowns, including Minnesota in 2005. Grand Forks Herald

Wayne County loses clout in GOP state Senate plan
Michigan is one of 37 states where the legislature has the initial authority to draw the plans for state House and Senate districts, and one of 43 states that has the initial authority to draw congressional districts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Real Clear Politics

June 17

Mayors face bigger financial woes as states cut help
NCSL found about half of U.S. states reduced funding to cities and other local governments in fiscal 2011, while 15 were projecting cuts in fiscal 2012, which begins July 1 for most states.  "So if you factor in that this is the fourth year of closing significant budget gaps, one could imagine that states would get around to (cutting) local governments," said Todd Haggerty, a policy analyst at the legislatures' group.  Reuters

Branstad to release shutdown contingency plans
Since 2002, at least 19 states have started a new fiscal year without a budget. Five of those states - Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Minnesota and Tennessee - had partial shutdowns that lasted from four hours to nine days, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a government advocacy group.  Des Moines Register

Mich. Dems say GOP redistricting plans are rushed
Michigan is one of 37 states where the legislature has the initial authority to draw the plans for state House and Senate districts, and one of 43 states that has the initial authority to draw congressional districts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  AP in the Petoskey News-Review

Minnesota's budget battle is unique among many states' financial problems
In fact, the state's $5 billion deficit is only a small part of the roughly $80 billion in total budget gaps that state legislators across the country must fill for the next fiscal year — nearly all by the end of June, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  MinnPost

Gov expresses optimism on budget deal
If Brandstad is successful, Iowa would be the only state to switch from biennial to annual to biennial budgets twice in the past 40 years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Carroll Daily Times Herald

June 16

States want more in pension contributions
“You can call this an exponential increase in activity to have state employees contribute more,” said Ronald Snell, a pension expert with the National Conference of State Legislatures. “Before 2010, this hardly ever happened.”  New York Times

No more packing or cracking
So now comes California’s reform, which could be “the great experiment that other states will follow”, according to Tim Storey, a redistricting analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Also approved directly by voters, in two separate ballot measures, this commission consists of 14 members, chosen in a complex but rigorous process, partly by lottery.  The Economist

Fate unclear for Calif. inmate firefighting crews
But California's inmate firefighter program is larger than many states' entire prison populations, said Alison Lawrence, a policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures.  AP in the San Francisco Chronicle and Business Week

North Carolina Senate passes voter ID bill on to House
Twelve states now have laws that require or request photo identification of voters, while 16 others require ID without a photo, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  AP in the Fayetteville Observer

State film incentive program gets plaudits, but also has critics
“With huge budget deficits and waning revenues, some lawmakers are taking a closer look at tax credits for filmmakers,” reported the National Conference of State Legislatures recently.  Several states have scaled back their offerings, the group said, while a couple have eliminated them altogether.  Juneau Empire

Bill banning `bath salts' goes to Corbett's desk
More than 20 states have banned bath salts by law or regulation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In Pennsylvania, Centre, Columbia, Schuylkill, Luzerne and Lackawanna counties have banned them, as has the city of Lock Haven.  AP in The Times Leader

Proposal to require E-Verify nationwide cast as a jobs bill by supporters
Arizona is one of 15 states requiring some level of E-Verify job checks and one of only three to require it for all jobs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Rhode Island recently dropped its requirement.  Cronkite News

June 15

W.Va. emergency reserve levels reaching max limit
At least 37 states cap the size of their reserves, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. West Virginia is among 13 states that set limits at 10 percent of general revenue collections or spending.  AP in the Charleston Daily Mail

Does Texas have more Hispanic state legislators than other states?
Texas actually has a higher percentage of Latino lawmakers in its state legislature than nearly every other state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. As of 2009, all but a handful of states had five or fewer Latino state legislators. Texas had 37.  Fort Worth Star Telegram (blog)

States weigh relaxing penalties for teen sexting
Legislatures in Rhode Island and 20 other states have considered bills this year to adjust penalties for teen sexting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California lawmakers are considering legislation that would enable schools to expel students caught sexting.  AP in the Daily News

June 14

Minnesota prepares for shutdown
And in Tennessee, public university classes and road construction stopped, while parks and many state agencies were closed during a partial three-day shutdown in 2002.  "It can be disruptive," said Todd Haggerty, policy associate at the National Conference of State Legislatures.  CNN

Report eyes legislators' education
In addition to using Project Vote Smart, a non-partisan research organization based in Phillipsburg, the Chronicle used information from the National Conference of State Legislatures, legislative candidate websites and literature, social media and news clips, said Alex Richards, a Chronicle reporter who worked on the project.  Billings Gazette

Localizing E-Verify: The Tennessee Lawful Employment Act Of 2011
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in the first quarter of 2011, state legislators in the 50 states and Puerto Rico introduced 1538 bills and resolutions relating to immigration.  This number surpassed the first quarter of 2010, when 1,180 bills were introduced.  Mondaq News Alerts

Arkansas legislators lag nation in college experience
No state has minimum educational standards for its legislators, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Reuters

Report offers stats on how well educated Ohio, other states' lawmakers are
William Pound, the executive director of the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver, told a New York Times reporter that no state had minimum educational standards for its legislators, though most had age requirements.  Examiner.com

June 13

Oregon's standing in pension reform
Only a few other states — Georgia, Michigan and Utah — have followed Oregon's lead in adopting a hybrid pension plan. All others chose to tweak their existing pension plan.  "There's the sense that the defined benefit plan can be adjusted to take care of the problem," Snell said of less-extensive reforms. "Further, there's a reluctance to rock the boat more than has to be done" given the states' other budget problems.  Statesman Journal

Many state legislators lack college degrees
William Pound, the executive director of the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver, said that no state had minimum educational standards for its legislators, though most had age requirements. He agreed with Mr. Fletcher that a degree was not as important to a lawmaker’s success as other factors, including an ability to deal with people and an understanding of the issues and the political process.  The New York Times

Asheville-area politicians weigh in on NC voter ID bill
Twelve states now have laws that require or request photo identification of voters, while 16 others require ID without a photo, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Asheville Citizen-Times

Teen sexting penalties may be relaxed by states
Legislatures in Rhode Island and 20 other states have considered bills this year to adjust penalties for teen sexting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  AP in The Huffington Post

Do elected officials with a conflict of interest have a right to vote anyway?
very state has adopted regulations governing officials’ votes on matters on which they may have conflicts of interest. See National Conference of State Legislatures, Voting Recusal Provisions, for a complete listing, including the rules governing disclosure and voting by Hawaii Senators and House members on matters in which “legislation affects the member’s direct personal familial or financial interest.”  Honolulu Civil Beat

Front-load investment in the next generation of workers
As recently reported by the National Conference of State Legislatures, public investments in early education are showing a rate of return in double percentage points.  Indianapolis Business Journal

Trouble from the start with Walsh Act
The Adam Walsh Act was "an unfunded mandate and states were not part of the discussion when the bill was considered," said Susan Frederick, federal affairs counsel for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "We were told here's what we've done for you and we're not happy about that."  Washington Examiner

NY health exchange legislation waits
About 12 states have defeated bills that would have created health insurance exchanges; 13 states have not yet considered such bills, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.  Northeast Public Radio

Legislature approves major jobs bill
Perone, who serves as Vice Chairman of the Communications, Financial Services and Interstate Commerce Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures, has long been a champion at the statehouse for making it easier for businesses to invest and create jobs in the state.  Stamford Plus Magazine

Lakeshore state lawmaker tabbed to national committee
Freshman state House Representative Amanda Price has been named to the Communications, Financial Services and Interstate Commerce Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures.  WHTC

TIS Commitee focuses on regional collaboration, transportation reauthorization
The committee heard presentations from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and National Conference of State Legislatures on state initiatives to finance transportation programs, including experiments with a Vehicle Miles Tax to replace the current fuel tax and public private partnerships.  National League of Cities

June 10

Will push to boost college enrollment lower standards?
Carey said the nation can't turn a blind eye to the preparation needs of students as 34 percent of students at public colleges enrolled in at least one remedial course, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Minnesota Public Radio

NC voter ID bill gets final House approval
Twelve states now have laws that require or request photo identification of voters, while 16 others require ID without a photo, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/Rocky Mount Telegram

California to get first look at new political maps
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, most state maps have their political boundaries drown by the Legislature or commissions appointed by the parties or governors. AP/Daily Journal

Democrats fret as voter regulations tighten across the country
A report from the National Conference of State Legislatures makes it clear that no voters are unnecessarily blocked from their rights to vote. Washington Examiner (blog)

Where welfare dollars go--and why
The National Conference of State Legislatures recently published an analysis which compared the per-capita number of welfare recipients through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program across all U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Fort Liberty

June 9

Federal judge to hear Maine redistricting lawsuit
The National Conference of State Legislatures says Maine and Montana are the only states that allow redistricting to wait until after the 2012 congressional elections. Daily Journal

A look at the lopsided Groupon agreement
The National Conference of State Legislatures also tracks this. Escheat laws may also apply. Business Insider

LA could join backlash against traffic cameras
Nine states have banned red-light cameras and several others have passed laws limiting the use of camera enforcement, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. San Jose Mercury News

Mickey Stephens named to national transportation panel
Ralston tapped Stephens to serve on the Transportation Committee of the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures through late next year. Savannah Morning News

Alabama joins states' crackdown on illegals
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, "In the first quarter of 2011, state legislators in the 50 states and Puerto Rico introduced 1,538 bills and resolutions relating to immigrants and refugees." The New American

Winkler Speaks Out Against Voter ID Proposal
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, eight states currently require voters to present a photo ID, and another five states, including Wisconsin, are set to initiate the requirement by 2012. Patch.com

Survey: Public pension problem could be shrinking
The findings are in sync with a recent National Conference of State Legislatures report that 33 states changed their public pension plans from January 2010 through May 2011, with 23 requiring future employees to make higher contributions. Reuters

Rock the Vote report says Pa. voting system a hindrance
The voting system scorecard" was compiled with data and research from organizations including the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, The Pew Center on the States and the Defense Department. Greenfield Daily Reporter

State legislatures consider a record number of immigration measures
The National Conference of State Legislatures says the top areas of interest were employment and law enforcement. WABE

How tied chambers affect states
In fact, historically speaking, ties are quite common, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Governing (blog)

June 8

NC Republican lawmakers return to stronger ID bill
Twelve states now have laws that require or request photo identification of voters, while 16 others require ID without a photo, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Stamford Advocate

GOP-led NC Legislature pushing to end straight-party voting
Sixteen states have a form of straight party voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Daily Journal

Ballot Law Update: Several local ballot measures involved in
Since the beginning of the year, 229 laws have been proposed in 40 states affecting the initiative and referendum process, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Ballot News

Digest of Other White House Announcements
Later, in the Roosevelt Room, the president and Vice President Joe Biden met with leadership of the National Conference of State Legislatures.TMCnet.com

Home of the free--and the photo ID
As it stands today, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, these states require a photo ID: Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. York Dispatch

June 7

College tuition rates for immigrants still an issue in many states
At the state level, "you see almost equal activity on either side," says Brenda Bautsch, an education policy specialist at the National
Conference of State Legislatures. Statesman Journal

Lawmaker: Delist medical pot, like wolves
Sands said legislators in states that have legalized medical marijuana might be able to advocate for such an effort at meetings of their
national groups, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Council on State Government. Billings Gazette

Supreme Court voids ruling against immigration law
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in recent years, well over 1,000 immigration related bills have been
introduced in state each year. RedState

House voter ID bill vote may come Wednesday
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 14 legislatures are considering similar requirements this year.
PW-Philadelphia Weekly (blog)

June 6

Alabama pushes health reforms
“He strongly asserted that this funding had to be restored to Medicaid,” said Rep. Greg Wren, a Republican, who has worked on health policy issues in the Legislature and with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Politico

SC legislator wants to cap gas prices
Hawaii is the only other state that has attempted to cap gas prices this year, according to Glen Andersen, energy program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. USA Today

Tax-free online sales not friendly to Michigan business
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that for the 2012 fiscal year, Michigan will miss out on nearly $300 million in uncollected sales taxes. Column on MLive.com

Law enforcement sees juvenile sex offender registry implemented
States that do not comply before July 27, 2011, will lose 10 percent of the federal Byrne Justice Assistance Grant, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Clarksville Leaf Chronicle

States slow to adopt health-care transition
Nearly a dozen legislatures have defeated or allowed to expire bills that would have created an exchange, according to analyses by the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Washington Post

Obesity is Killing our Children Softly in Pennsylvania
Childhood obesity in Pennsylvania is at 29.7% according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Emailwire (press release)

Bill to require photo ID at polls creates divide in state Legislature
At least 14 legislatures are considering new voter ID requirements, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Patriot-News

For-profit colleges: Too much profit, too little education?
More than 30 bills that target for-profit colleges were introduced this year in 18 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. DesMoinesRegister.com

Assembly has chance to help domestic-violence victims
What's more, the National Conference of State Legislatures has identified a dozen states, from Arizona to Virginia, that have carved out exceptions for other offenses, mainly for public safety, sexual assaults and violent felonies. Opinion in Poughkeepsie Journal

Collecting sales taxes
Those figures are based on studies that have been done by academics and the National Conference of State Legislatures, Nebraska Tax Commissioner Doug Ewald said. Omaha World-Herald

Longshot recall attempts target Michigan lawmakers
Nineteen states permit the recalls of state officials, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. San Antonio Express

Supreme Court Upholds AZ Law Punishing Businesses That Hire Illegals
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, state lawmakers set a new record in the first three months of the year, proposing 1,538 bills related to immigration. Right Side News

June 3

States look to guarantee civility at military funerals
Arizona, Arkansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Wyoming already have passed such laws this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  USA Today

Tenn. opens door to corporate political donations
While several states have enacted new laws on independent expenditures, Tennessee alone in opening the doors to direct corporate contributions to candidates, said Jennie Bowser, an elections analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures.  AP in Bloomberg BusinessWeek and the Albany Times Union

Rural legislators’ power ebbs as populations shift
“It really is the next chapter in the long saga of the loss of rural political power in America,” said Tim Storey, a redistricting expert with the National Conference of State Legislatures.  New York Times

Political fault lines emerging in the redistricting battle
Republicans took over at least 19 Democratically controlled state legislatures in November and gained more than 650 seats, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  ABC News

GOP: No budget mediation
Minnesota has endured budget gridlock before, but no outside mediator has ever stepped in to help mend fences. Arturo Perez, a fiscal analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said neither he nor anyone else at the organization could recall a third-party mediator settling any states' budget negotiations.  Minneapolis Star Tribune

A push for Arizona-style immigration laws stalls out
"States are saying, 'Yes, let's debate it' and then deferring until next year" while they study the potential economic and legal effects, says Ann Morse, director of the Immigrant Policy Project for the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Senate panel takes up civil unions
Three states — Hawaii, Illinois and New Jersey — allow civil unions between same-sex couples, affording them the same rights that state law grants to married couples, according to Marriage Equality USA and the National Conference of State Legislatures. A fourth state, Delaware, just adopted a civil-union law that will take effect on Jan. 1, 2012.  Providence Journal

Oregon House votes to let consumers cash in low-balance gift cards
For the full list of statues and bills pending about redeeming gift card balances, visit the National Conference of State Legislatures website.  Consumer Reports

Key interest group applauds Senate take on multimodal freight
In April, the National Governors Association (NGA), the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National League of Cities (NLC) announced that their organizations had jointly agreed on a set of “principles” they say should guide transportation funding efforts for the future.  Fleet Owner

Revisit motorcycle helmet law using evidence, not emotion
Quoting the National Conference of State Legislatures, Frankel said states with mandatory helmet laws saved $1.8 billion for hospital care and treatment related to serious motorcycle accidents.  Butler Eagle

Love appointed to ag and energy committee
Senate President Stephen R. Morris, R-Hugoton, recently announced the appointment of State Senator Garrett Love to one of the standing committees of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Love, serving his first term in the Kansas Senate, has been appointed to serve on NCSL’s Agriculture and Energy Committee.  Dodge City Daily Globe

June 2

Projected state deficit shadows Pawlenty's bid
Minnesota's projected budget gap for fiscal 2012, expressed as a percentage of the state's total general fund, ranks fourth-highest in the nation, behind Alabama, Nevada and California, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. Wall Street Journal

Same-sex couples line up for Illinois civil union licenses
Illinois is one of four states with a civil union law for same-sex couples, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Another five states and the District of Columbia issue marriage licenses for same sex couples, NCSL said. WGN TV

Authoritative report details how states are building the nation's transportation systems
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the Center for Excellence in Project Finance at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) have partnered to produce an authoritative review of transportation governance and finance for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Financial Channel

Maryland lagging other states on revenue increases
Still, Maryland is among 23 states that are on track to bring in more income tax revenues than predicted, according to a recent report from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Southern Maryland News

Gov. Hickenlooper signs bill making Colorado latest state to set up health exchange
The National Conference of State Legislatures says Colorado is the eighth state to adopt an exchange since the passage of last year's health care overhaul. At least two of those states — Virginia and West Virginia — are simultaneously suing over the law. Indiana Republic

Illinois implements civil union law
The National Conference of State Legislatures has reported only four other states with same-sex couple civil union law, while five states along with the District of Columbia allow for same-sex marriage licensing. The Illinois law also demands acknowledgment of out-of-state unions. U.S. Election News

June 1

Can Shoshone schools teach students more in less time? District aims to find out
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Shoshone is among the growing number of school districts across the U.S. that have moved or are moving toward a four-day school week. Times-News

Nebraska passes compromise bill on public unions
The National Conference of State Legislatures says lawmakers in 43 states introduced bills to alter collective bargaining for public employees. Reuters

Consequences of Cutting Medicaid
Diane and her guests talk about the consequences of cutting Medicaid. Joy Johnson Wilson, Health Policy Director and Senior Federal Affairs Counsel,National Conference of State Legislatures. Diane Rehm Show (NPR)

 

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