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NCSL in the News June 2013

NCSL in the News Archives

NCSL in the News: June 2013

June 28

Is one-party rule dividing America? Concentration of power can lead to overreach, backlash
“I think we’re in a phase now, and it may last a little while, but the fortunes of the parties ebb and flow,” said Karl Kurtz, a political scientist at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “The one constant about American politics is that voters change.” The Washington Times

Health care industry scrambles to interpret S.C. Certificate of Need suspension
In 1974, a federal law required all states to regulate new health care construction and technology investments. In 1987, when the government lifted that mandate, 14 states scrapped their Certificate of Need programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Post and Courier

Pa. House bill cracks down on metal thieves
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, thieves risk their lives to strip wiring and piping from homes, utility properties and electrical infrastructure, resulting in power disruptions and revenue losses. standardspeaker.com

'Stand your ground' defense works in favor of Enterprise man
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports online that there are nine states that carry self-defense statutes a step further with the stand your ground concept and 21 states total with a so-called Castle Law that has to do with self defense. dothaneagle.com

June 27

'Stand your ground' defense works in fabor of Enterprise man
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports online that there are nine states that carry self-defense statutes a step further with the stand your ground concept and 21 states total with a so-called Castle Law that has to do with self defense. dothaneagle.com

Supreme Court rulings have no impact on Nebraska's same-sex marriage ban
Susan Parnas Frederick, senior federal affairs counsel for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said same-sex couples living in those states now are eligible for all federal marriage benefits. “Outside of these states, federal marriage benefits become more complicated, as many commonly thought of federal benefits, such as jointly filing on federal income taxes, are tied to a married couple's place of residence," Frederick said. "There are currently no states that prohibit same-sex marriage while recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states. If a same-sex couple residing in a state that doesn't allow same-sex marriage gets married in a state that does, then returns home, whether or not they're now eligible for federal marriage benefits can vary depending on the benefit.” Sioux City Journal

In Court victories for gay marriage, signs of the longer war to come
Because the cases stopped far short of establishing a federal right to marriage for same-sex couples, fighting over the issue will continue in courts, ballot boxes and legislatures throughout America, where gay marriage remains illegal in 35 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. TIME

Ruling lifts gay marriage backers in Michigan
Although 35 states ban gay marriage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the number of states allowing gay marriage has doubled in the past two years to 12. The Detroit News

Gay marriage rulings leave Wyoming wondering
“If you reside in a state that allows for same-sex marriage, as a result of today’s ruling you are now eligible for all federal marriage benefits,” Susan Parnas Frederick at the National Conference of State Legislatures said in a statement. WyomingNews.com

Idaho's same-sex marriage ban stands; questions linger
"If a same-sex couple residing in a state that doesn't allow same-sex marriage gets married in a state that does, then returns home, whether or not they're now eligible for federal marriage benefits can vary depending on the benefit," said Susan Parnas Frederick of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Idaho Statesman

Supreme Court rulings have no impact on Nebraska's same-sex marriage ban
Susan Parnas Frederick, senior federal affairs counsel for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said same-sex couples living in those states now are eligible for all federal marriage benefits. “Outside of these states, federal marriage benefits become more complicated, as many commonly thought of federal benefits, such as jointly filing on federal income taxes, are tied to a married couple's place of residence," Frederick said. "There are currently no states that prohibit same-sex marriage while recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states. If a same-sex couple residing in a state that doesn't allow same-sex marriage gets married in a state that does, then returns home, whether or not they're now eligible for federal marriage benefits can vary depending on the benefit.” Sioux City Journal

DOMA ruling to ripple across families' finances, taxes, benefits
Twelve states and the District of Columbia currently have laws allowing same-sex marriage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Today.com

Court ruling could boost interest in voter ID
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, legislation was introduced in 30 state capitals this year. LakeExpo.com

Maloney: DOMA ruling 'big deal for families'
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are no states that prohibit same-sex marriage while recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states. Poughkeepsie Journal

Alabamians must present photo ID at the polls in 2014
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the law is scheduled to take effect for the 2014 primary election. CBS42.com

In Wisconsin, no impact for gay marriage ruling
Thirty-five states, including Wisconsin, prohibit gay marriage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press in the Beloit Daily News

Hoffman says pay-cut law 'right thing to do'
Illinois lawmakers are among the highest paid in the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Telegraph

Back to school for labor
Charter teachers tend to be much younger and less experienced than their public school counterparts, according to a 2012 National Conference of State Legislatures report. The American Prospect

Cleveland kidnap suspect must take competency test
Ohio is one of 38 U.S. states that have fetal homicide laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters in northcumberlandtoday.com

Gay marriage issue not over for Indiana
Susan Parnas Frederick, senior federal affairs counsel for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said that means in states where same-sex marriage is legal, couples will be eligible for all federal marriage benefits. But she said that may not necessarily be the case in states that decide not to recognize same-sex marriage. "If a same-sex couple residing in a state that doesn't allow same-sex marriage gets married in a state that does, then returns home, whether or not they're now eligible for federal marriage benefits can vary depending on the benefit," Frederick said. NUVO

June 26

Louisiana gay activists hail decision on marriage; state gay marriage ban author harshly critical
"Outside of these states, federal marriage benefits become more complicated, as many commonly thought-of federal benefits, such as jointly filing on federal income taxes, are tied to a married couple's place of residence," the National Conference of State Legislatures said in a news release. The Republic

Missouri official testifies about Real ID compliance
Legislators in about half the states have passed measures opposing the implementation of Real ID, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press in dailyjournalonline.com

New Jersey lawmakers seek to ease medical marijuana access for minors
At least 15 states and the District of Columbia allow minors to access medical marijuana, all requiring some form of parental consent, according to Karmen Hanson, health policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Huffington Post

Ober appointed to national labor committee
Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma has appointed state Rep. David Ober, R-Albion, to serve on the Labor and Economic Development Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures. kpcnnews.com

Court ruling could boost interest in voter ID
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, legislation was introduced in 30 state capitals this year. St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Senator Pearce remains committed to higher ed plan
A 2012 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures said that 12 states use performance-based funding in higher education. digitalBURG.com

Annual artistic license awards this Sunday in Santa Monica
Retired Sen. Alan Sieroty of Los Angeles is known as the "godfather" of California Art Law. In the State Senate, he authored several groundbreaking pieces of California legislation, including the California Resale Royalty Act. He served as Chairman of the Arts Task Force of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Santa Monica Mirror

John Browning and Jim Sebesta names to transportation commission
Sebesta, a veteran of both the House and the Senate, focused on transportation issues during his time in the Legislature. He even rose to some national prominence on the issue, including two years as the vice chairman of the Energy and Transportation Committee set up by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Sunshine State News

Cleveland kidnapping suspect to appear in court
Ohio is one of 38 U.S. states that have fetal homicide laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Chicago Tribune

June 25

Court ruling clears way for election changes in the South
Susan Frederick, senior federal affairs counsel for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said it's too early to say how many states will act because many legislatures are out of session. But she said some states formerly subject to Section 5 may try to act before Congress attempts to "refine'' the formula in Section 4. "Would states try to go forward with laws that they submitted to DOJ for pre-clearance? Probably,'' she said. "Obviously, there are things those states want to do." USA Today

Shifting marijuana laws complicate current cases
"It's a huge gray zone," said Karmen Hanson, a policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "And just like any other law, it's up to the prosecutors to use discretion." The Daily Journal

Alabama photo voter ID law to be used in 2014, state officials say 
Lawmakers in 18 states have approved photo voter ID laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. al.com

Supreme Court rules on voting rights law: Now what?
In 1965, the 11 states of the Old Confederacy, stretching from Virginia to Texas, had a total of three black state legislators. By 2009, the number had grown to 321, or 18% of the total, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. USA Today in the Tucson Citizen

NY Legislature moves toward a digital world
State legislatures have been experimenting with putting documents online for lawmakers and to increase public access, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press in seattlepi.com

Pennsylvania Has Worst Spread Since ’10 on Pensions: Muni Credit
Since last year, 15 states and Puerto Rico have enacted changes in areas such as pension benefits and employer contributions, said Luke Martel, senior policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. Bloomberg

Secutiry requires a delicate balance (Editorial)
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 23 states now use some type of metal detectors in their capitol buildings. The Columbus Dispatch

Oregon House backs medical marijuana dispensaries
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Oregon is one of 19 states to allow medicinal pot, along with the District of Columbia. Associated Press in The Dalles Chronicle

Legislators face vote over LePage budget veto
Five states shut down government at some point between 2002 and 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. pressherald.com

Texas abortion law won't go through if 13-hour filibuster succeeds
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, eight state legislatures have banned abortions after 20 weeks. Yahoo! News

June 24


More states let unauthorized immigrants take the wheel
These new state laws show that the public safety argument often cited by immigrant advocates is "starting to carry weight," says Ann Morse, who directs the National Conference of State Legislatures' Immigrant Policy Project. NPR

School safety measures dissolve in Arizona Legislature
State legislatures across the nation considered more than 200 bills allowing guns on campuses this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most languished, but a couple smalls measures passed, the NCSL’s Lauren Heintz. Associated Press in the Mohave Daily News

Jury is out on effectiveness of biennial state budgeting
The trend among state governments for the past 70 years has been to abandon two-year budgets in favor of annual budgeting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures... “Iowa is kind of in a gray area,” said the conference's policy associate Todd Haggerty, noting the state adopted the practice at Gov. Terry Branstad’s insistence in 2011, but there’s nothing official to classify Iowa as a biennial budgeting state. “In practice, it kind of is.” Quad-City Times

Pool inspectors decline as waterborne illnesses rise
Across states nationwide, environmental health programs suffer from a lack of money, and policymakers do not want to force the industry to pay for swimming pool inspections, says Doug Farquhar, program director for environmental health at the National Conference of State Legislatures. USA Today

Illinois lawmakers to take 12 unpaid furlough days
The state’s lawmakers are among the highest paid in the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press in pantagraph.com

States assert they have rights to reject federal laws
The 2005 Real ID Act ... has been stymied, in part, because about half the state legislatures have opposed its implementation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press in the Lawrence Journal-World

Encouraging bicycling and walking, the state legislative role
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) produced this report to document distinct state approaches to encourage bicycling and walking. AARP.org

Missing child case in Utica highlights importance of passing Caylee's law
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 11 states have enacted a version of Caylee’s Law and 8 more, including New York, have pending legislation. Oswego County Today

Fight to save home scars one Fort Trumbull family
Since the decision, 42 states have enacted legislation or passed ballot measures that limit the way eminent domain can be used, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. theday.com

John Loughlin says Rhode Island's General Assembly is one of the most expensive in the U.S.
According to that chart, which was developed in March by the National Conference of State Legislatures based on Census data, Rhode Island doesn't just have ONE of the most expensive legislatures. It was the second-most expensive, behind Alaska. PolitiFact

Ferrara: Taxes help fund unemployment benefits
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 22 states still owe a combined $21 billion to the federal government for bailing out their trust funds. StatesmanJournal.com

Protection against snooping
You can track state legislative action covering this issue on the National Conference of State Legislatures (ncsl.org). Businesstelegram.com

Summer chores
Rep. Dave Ober, R-Albion, was named to the National Conference of State Legislatures to serve on the National Economic Development Committee. Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

June 21

States increasingly saying ‘no way’ to federal laws ranging from guns to drugs and health care
Federal authorities have repeatedly delayed implementation of the 2005 Real ID Act, an anti-terrorism law that set stringent requirements for photo identification cards to be used to board commercial flights or enter federal buildings. The law has been stymied, in part, because about half the state legislatures have opposed its implementation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Washington Post

Colorado governor now ‘undecided’ about supporting $1 billion tax hike
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the only other flat-tax states are Illinois (5 percent) Indiana (3.4 percent), Michigan (4.25 percent) Pennsylvania (3.07 percent) and Utah (5 percent). The Daily Caller

Criminals use Ohio as a conduit for guns
Ohio lawmakers have taken few steps to expand state law further than required by federal law when it comes to guns — a move many other states have taken over the years, according to information from the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan research group. Columbus Dispatch

State Rep. Phillip Archuleta named to national, state committees
Archuleta was appointed to the National Conference of State Legislatures to lead its Labor and Economic Development Committee. Las Cruces Sun-News

Assembly OKs women’s rights, abortion bill
Nationally, courts and several states have added some restrictions to late-term abortions since Roe v. Wade, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Maine lawmaker seeks tighter pharmacy regulation
Since then, state lawmakers in more than 10 states have proposed tighter restrictions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Press Herald

Drones being used in US for surveillance, says FBI chief
Bills have been introduced in at least 18 states to limit or regulate such aircraft, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Big News Network

June 20

Oregon lawmakers approve vaccine education bill
According to a December 2012 listing by the National Conference of State Legislatures, all states except Mississippi and West Virginia allow exemptions for religious reasons. Oregon would join about 20 states allowing exemptions for other nonmedical reasons. Statesman Journal

HPV vaccine credited with cutting infections in teen girls
The development of a vaccine prompted some states to require it for school admission, but an initial flurry of activity has died down, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Education Week

Why is North Carolina trying to charge extra for clean cars?
"I think so far what we're seeing is the trend seems to be either an additional annual fee or some type of registration fee seems to be much more popular than the miles-driven tax, because that is a newer technology and raises some privacy concerns," said Kristy Hartman, a transportation and environment analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. The NCSL estimates that gas taxes contribute 40 and 90% to highway revenues at the state and national levels, respectively. policymic.com

Panel OKs medical marijuana dispensaries
Last week, Nevada became the 14th state to legalize medical marijuana dispensaries, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Statesman Journal

Arming Tennnessee teachers (Opinion)
Since Newtown, about 500 proposed “school safety” bills have floated around state legislatures across the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. timesfreepress.com

Replace all Illinois public employees with contract workers (Opinion)
As Illinois daily sinks ever deeper into the financial cesspool, 35 states are considering cutting taxes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. chicagonow.com

June 19

Meet the new governor: sharply partisan and upwardly mobile
"Certainly those that want a national profile, they may well need to be partisan, just because of the way the nominating process works," says Bill Pound, executive director of the National Conference of State Legislatures. "They've got to get out and appeal to whatever base it is, on either side." NPR

Little appetite for Internet sales tax bill in House yet: co-sponsor
“Among House members, there’s not an appetite—yet,” Rep. Steve Womack, an Arkansas Republican, told reporters. Womack and [Rep. Jackie]  Speier both spoke Wednesday at an event organized by the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures. MarketWatch

FBI uses drones in domestic surveillance, Mueller says
Bills have been introduced in at least 18 states to limit or regulate such aircraft, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg

Internet sales tax could reap $23 billion for states
States could realize $23 billion in uncollected taxes if Congress approves the Internet sales tax bill, according to the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures. Stateline

The biggest winners of an Internet sales tax
Some $23 billion in sales tax goes unpaid each year by retailers making out-of-state sales, many through the Internet, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. CNN

Maine lawmakers grapple with falling gas tax revenues
About a dozen states index their gas taxes to inflation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. pressherald.com

NC could approve carbon-monoxide detector measure
Seventeen states require the devices in hotels and motels, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. MyFox8.com

Wisconsin bill would eliminate workplace flu-shot requirement
The National Conference of State Legislatures said the Wisconsin bill was the only one it was aware of that would bar employers of any type from requiring vaccinations. Associated Press in jsonline.com

Democrats say primary law is unconstitutional
 According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Hawaii is one of 11 states with open systems. Associated Press in The Maui News

Ban on using welfare cash for strip clubs, beer and illegal drugs approved by NY Senate
In February, the Obama administration required states to create policies to prevent the use of Electronic Benefit Transfers from inside liquor stores, casinos, and any "adult-oriented entertainment" facilities, or face a 5-percent cut in next year's federal funds, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press in syracuse.com

Should teachers be exempt from taxes?
Two national organizations–-the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Tax Foundation-- said no state gives teachers a personal income tax exemption. Charlotte Observer

Analysis: Mississippi supervisors discussing county budgets
Mississippi could realize an estimated $303.2 million in sales taxes from online purchases, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Neshoba Democrat

Murkowski supports same-sex marriage; Alaska couples await Supreme Court decision on DOMA, Prop 8
(Map courtesy of National Conference of State Legislatures) KTOO.org

More charges planned against accused Cleveland kidnapper
Ohio is one of 38 U.S. states that have fetal homicide laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters in KWCH

Winchenbach appointed to two national committees
[Maine] State Rep. Ellen Winchenbach, R-Waldoboro has been appointed to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Standing Committee on Labor and Economic Development and Standing Committee on Environment. villagesoup.com

June 18

States boost college funding, rein in tuition costs
But "few people believe that states will ever return to the high levels of contributions to higher education of a decade ago," says Julie Bell, director of the education group at the National Conference of State Legislatures. USA Today

GMO labeling bill clears legislative hurdle, but industry fight foreseen
No state has passed such a labeling law. At least 18 states are considering them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Connecticut recently passed a GMO labeling law that is nearly identical to amended version of L.D. 718. Vermont is on the verge of doing the same. A similar bill is under consideration by the New Hampshire Legislature. Press Herald

Denis Cautions Congress On Reform
Senators Mo Denis (D), majority leader of Nevada, and Curt Bramble (R), Senate president pro tem of Utah, spearheaded the meeting on behalf of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) Task Force on Immigration and the States. CBS Las Vegas

The Next Political Weapon for Minority Parties: Recall Elections
The National Conference of State Legislatures keeps records of all the state legislative recalls since the practice began in 1913. Pacific Standard Magazine

Pension reform: It's not looking pretty (Opinion)
As Illinois daily sinks ever deeper into the financial cesspool, 35 states are considering cutting taxes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Chicago Tribune

Nudists to state lawmakers: ‘Don’t worry -- we’ll be well-dressed’
Members of the American Association for Nude Recreation – yes, there is a website – are giving fair notice that they’ll be lobbying for their no-clothes cause in August during the Aug. 12-15 meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures in Atlanta. Atlanta Journal Constitution

Maine Senate approves weakened gun bill, disappointing advocates
Only three states, California, Connecticut and New York, require background checks before all gun sales, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Morning Sentinel

Bradley County weighs school gun law
In the six months since 20 students and six adults were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School, some 500 proposed school safety bills have floated around state legislatures across the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Chattanooga Times Free Press

Grimes to host town hall meeting here Thursday
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 32 states have adopted early voting, and 27 states allow absentee voting without requiring an excuse. Richmond Register

Cleveland man charged with 329 counts of kidnapping, rape
Ohio is one of 38 states to have a fetal homicide law on the books, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The law in Ohio makes it a crime to murder a person "who is or was carried in the womb of another." Alamogordo Daily News

Few states have genetically modified food laws
Doug Farquhar, program director at the National Conference of State Legislatures, told The Associated Press the chance of passing laws in Massachusetts, Vermont and New Jersey in the next year is "promising." Connecticut Post

Backers, critics of Internet sales tax digging in ahead of House action
And on Wednesday, the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures are holding an event to discuss what they say are the benefits of the legislation. Technology companies that make tax-collection software will be on hand, the groups said. Martketwatch

Senator calls for Real ID rebellion
Folmer and other critics of the federal law say it is an unfunded mandate that will threaten personal privacy. The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates it will cost states a combined total of $11 billion to implement it. Evening Sun

U.S. states lining up to limit employer access to personal social media accounts
Starting in 2012, U.S. state legislatures began introducing laws that would restrict employers from requesting the user names and passwords to employees’ personal and private social media accounts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. techrepublic.com

Filled Coffers May Mean Tax Changes in 35 States
Overall, 35 states debated tax changes during their 2013 legislative sessions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). In 16 states, lawmakers proposed changing personal income taxes: In most cases, they wanted to lower them. “For the first time in many years states aren’t facing huge budget shortfalls,” said Mandy Rafool of NCSL. “Revenue sort of stabilized; there is slow, slow revenue growth.” About half the states have once again reached their pre-recession revenue peaks, according to Rafool. The Fiscal Times

June 17

Immigration bill boost in Utah County (Opinion)
Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, was in Washington, D.C., during the past week as immigration reform legislation headed for a showdown on the Senate floor. He joined with Democrat Mo Denis, the Senate Majority Leader in Nevada, to push the agenda of the National Conference of State Legislatures, which wants a comprehensive, bi-partisan solution to a problem the county has struggled with for decades. Salt Lake Tribune

N.J. bill would allow cellphone searches after wrecks
Anne Tiegen, a senior transportation policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said Holzapfel's bill was the only legislative proposal in the country that would give police authority to take a cellphone at the scene of an accident without a warrant. Indiana and Hawaii are considering legislation that would specifically prohibit police from seizing cellphones at accident scenes. Philadelphia Daily News

Virginia still undecided on Medicaid expansion
However, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law last summer, it ruled that states cannot be forced to go along with the Medicaid expansion. Since then, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 states have decided to expand their programs, which are funded by both state and federal tax dollars. The Roanoke Times

Hybrids, EVs Causing States to Ponder New Road Taxes
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), gas taxes comprise nearly 40 percent of all state highway revenues and more than 90 percent at the federal level. Domestic Fuel

As Revenues Rebounded, Many States Pushed Through Tax Cuts
Overall, 35 states debated tax changes during their 2013 legislative sessions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). In 16 states, lawmakers proposed changing personal income taxes — in most cases, they wanted to lower them. Valley News

Bradley County weighs school gun law
In the six months since 20 students and six adults were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School, some 500 proposed school safety bills have floated around state legislatures across the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Chattanooga Times Free Press

Mississippi supervisors meet, discuss finances
Mississippi could realize an estimated $303.2 million in sales taxes from online purchases, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That is based on the level of Internet sales from last year. Memphis Commercial Appeal

Tax Modernization Committee set to begin work
The committee also plans to meet in August with nationally known, politically neutral tax experts from accounting groups and the National Conference of State Legislatures. The committee has to complete its report to the Legislature by Dec. 15. Fremont Tribune

Should EVs help pay for highway maintenance? (Editorial)
At least eight states have introduced bills this year to create taxes or fees on alternative-power vehicles, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Automotive News

Keeping Track of What's Important
For its part, the National Conference of State Legislatures bookended its Top 11 of 2011 list with balancing budgets in the lead position and infrastructure investments bringing up the rear. Governing

Miss. couples in crossfire of ruling on gay marriage
Information provided by The National Conference of State Legislatures. USA Today

What lies ahead?
The National Conference of State Legislatures cited a National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission estimate in a 2012 report that says states have shortchanged road construction and maintenance by as much as $185 billion a year. Muscatine Journal

Maine Senate approves hike in minimum wage
Maine is one of 18 states with minimum wages above the federal minimum of $7.25, according to U.S. Department of Labor Statistics. Twenty-three other states are weighing legislation to increase their minimum wages, according to an assessment by the National Conference of State Legislatures on Feb. 13. Morning Sentinel

Mississippi supervisors discussing county budgets
Mississippi could realize an estimated $303.2 million in sales taxes from online purchases, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That is based on the level of Internet sales from last year. Biloxi Sun Herald

Maine bill aims to teach kids basic finances
Pouliot presented information from the National Conference of State Legislatures that shows 32 states are considering legislation related to financial literacy or financial education. The Legislature's Education and Cultural Affairs Committee will consider the bill in the coming weeks. Press Herald

Illinois Pension Crisis: This Is What Rock Bottom Looks Like
When the recession hit, dozens of states saw hits to their pension investments and found themselves overburdened. The National Conference of State Legislatures says that since 2009, 48 states have passed what they consider “significant” reforms to commit themselves to pension payments going forward. kosu.org

Don't allow myths to kill Common Core
In 2009, at the National Conference of State Legislatures, Bill Gates states: Identifying common standards is just the starting point. We will only know if this effort is succeeded when the curriculum and tests are aligned to these standards. Wyoming Tribune-Eagle

In Wake of Meningitis Outbreak, Who Will Oversee Compounding Pharmacies?
And it happened “at a uniquely awkward time for state legislatures,” says Richard Cauchi, health program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Virtually every state body was in recess when the outbreak hit in October. Governing

Should motorists ever talk on the phone?
There is no federal law against using handheld devices on the road, but six states and the District of Columbia have such laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a group that tracks legislative data trends. No states ban the use of hands-free or wireless communication devices, experts said. CNN

June 14

Six months after Newtown: Rush of gun laws, mixed results
In all, 30 governors have signed weapons measures since Newtown, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures. USA Today

Will tobacco tax estimate go up in smoke?
As it turns out, Warner’s figure is quite a bit higher than the one offered by National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) health policy analyst Karmen Hanson. Hanson pointed to a projection from the Washington, D.C.-based Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, which welcomed the passage of Minnesota’s tax bill by estimating that it would cut overall consumption by “about 4 percent.” politicsinminnesota.com

(Editorial) Carbon monoxide detectors a must for all hotel rooms
Michigan, Vermont and New Jersey were the only other states requiring detectors in hotel rooms, according a 2012 survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Herald-Dispatch

Forced overtime laws
Reference: National Conference of State Legislatures: Issues and Research: State Laws on Work Hours and Overtime. azcentral.com

June 13

Analysis: Top court's gay marriage ruling won't be last word
Twelve of the 50 states and the District of Columbia permit gay men and lesbians to marry. Three of the dozen--Delaware, Minnesota and Rhode Island-- legalized such unions this year, and the laws take effect this summer, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters in the New Haven Register

Fiscal survey of the states shows continued uncertainty
The [Marketplace Fairness Act] has been a priority for state governments and their trade associations, including NGA and the National Conference of State Legislatures. The NCSL estimates that states collectively lost $23 billion in online sales revenue in 2012. Huffington Post

Iowa's Gov. Branstad signs state's biggest-ever tax cut into law
According to a survey in May by the National Conference of State Legislatures, 35 states are taking up tax reform in their current legislative sessions, with proposals for tax reductions slightly outnumbering proposals for increases. newsmax.com

Early in-person voting bill gets Maine Senate approval
Maine is one of 27 states that already allow no-excuse absentee voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Morning Sentinel

(Opinion) Caution, don't count the revenue before it is allotted
Tennessee could realize an estimated $748.5 million in sales taxes from online purchases, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. tricities.com

Some new laws in New Mexico take effect Friday
Enactment of the social media law makes New Mexico the 13th state to approve similar laws since the start of 2012, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press in the Las Cruces Sun-News

(Blog) Didn't ask? Don't share [online]
Some states have laws that could have you facing some legal problems in the near future the recipients decide to file. (You should hit up the National Conference of State Legislatures for that info if you're worried/curious.) Huffington Post

June 12

As revenues rebounded, many states cut taxes
“For the first time in many years states aren’t facing huge budget shortfalls,” said Mandy Rafool of NCSL. “Revenue sort of stabilized; there is slow, slow revenue growth.” About half the states have once again reached their pre-recession revenue peaks, according to Rafool. The Saratogian

In resonse to Newtown shootings, some states move to put guns in classroomns
In the six months since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, legislators in at least 30 states have proposed laws allowing teachers and other school staff to carry firearms on primary and secondary school campuses, according to Lauren Heintz, a research analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. CNN

Cleveland man pleads not guilty to murder, serial rape
Ohio is one of 38 states that have fetal homicide laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters in the Chicago Tribune

(Editorial) Include parents in standards debate
Bill Gates told the National Conference of State Legislatures, “When the tests are aligned to the common standards, the curriculum will line up as well — and that will unleash powerful market forces in the service of better teaching.”  USA Today

There are 'no healthy tans'
In Florida, parents must accompany kids age 14 and under who go to use tanning beds, and teens between age 14 and 18 must wear eye protection, according to the national conference of state legislatures. The Gainesville Sun

Alabama has yet to seek preclearance of photo voter ID law approved in 2011
Lawmakers in 18 states have approved photo voter ID laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. al.com

Wisconsin wants to join states that offer private-school tax credits
More states (11, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures) offer deductions for individuals or corporations that contribute to private school scholarship funds, which are then given to low-income students, but the Wisconsin plan is fundamentally different by offering the financial benefit directly to the private school families. Governing

Finally a wireless tax break
It’s been nearly eleven years since the National Governors Association (NGA) and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) urged states to reform and modernize their wireless taxes. Politic365

Session is over, but work isn't done (by Senator Lydia Brasch)
This week, I am excited to announce that I have been appointed to serve on the Energy, Transportation and Agriculture Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) for the 2013-2014 biennium. Fremont Tribune

June 11

Connecticut approves sweeping GMO labeling bill
The passage of laws in Massachusetts, Vermont and New Jersey in the next year is "promising," according to Doug Farquhar, program director at the National Conference of State Legislatures. St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Senate approves bill to limit use of drones
Forty-three states have introduced bills to regulate the use of drones, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures as of May 29. StatesmanJournal.com

State super-minorities say they find ways to influence legislation
In a few states, those that are deeply Republican-red or Democratic-blue, the partisan hue is so one-sided that it's creating super-minorities in some Senate chambers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg News in the Bend Bulletin

News Briefs: Push on to raise states' minimum wage
As of Jan. 1, five states and the District of Columbia had higher minimum wages than Massachusetts’, including Vermont, where it’s $8.60 an hour, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Valley Advocate

The EV taxation debate comes to Michigan
According to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, so far this year, at least eight states, including Michigan, have introduced bills to create taxes or fees on such vehicles. Automotive News

Bicyclist happy to see rules of road being discussed
As of this month, 21 states, including Kansas, have enacted the three-foot clearance requirement, according to the website for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Salina Journal

Sesame Street designs online kit for kids who have parents in prison
Between 1991 and 2007 the number of children with a father in prison increased from 881,500 to more than 1.5 million, a 77 percent increase, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. KCTV5 Kansas City


June 10

States look to tax hybrids to recoup lost road funding
Gas taxes are the most vital source of transportation funding, making up nearly 40 percent of all state highway revenues and more than 90 percent at the federal level, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press in Fox News

Senjem provision loosens Legislature's 'gift ban'
Minnesota has one of the strongest gift ban laws in the nation, even with this latest exception, according to Natalie Wood, with the National Conference of State Legislatures' Center for Ethics and Government. It is one of nine states dubbed the "no cup of coffee" states because of its strict gift laws. PostBulletin.com

'Payday' loans bill advances in Pennsylvania Senate
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 38 states have specific statutes that allow for payday lending. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Federal Reserve and budget shortfalls
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates the inability to have Internet businesses collect taxes resulted in about $23 billion in lost tax revenue during 2012. Shreveport Times

Caylee's law becomes law in Alabma
As of Sept. 19, 2012, at least eleven states have approved similar laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and an additional eight states have filed bills. al.com

Death penalty for causing miscarriages? Cleveland kidnapper may become first on death row for beating woman until she miscarried
At least 38 states have fetal homicide laws that allow murder charges to be filed when a criminal act causes a woman to lose her baby, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. National Conference of State Legislatures. New York Daily News

Why states suffer from pension panic
Since 2009, at least 43 states have either cut benefits, increased employee contributions or both in order to shore up their pension finances, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. MarketWatch/The Wall Street Journal

First responders face pay disparity, budget ccuts
A dozen states don’t fund EMS at all, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported in a study last year. The Salt Lake Tribune

The Best Way to Scare a Politician
Citizens can recall state officials in 19 states, while local officials can be recalled in at least 29 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Northwest Public Radio

Growing social media privacy protection irks employment lawyers in U.S.
Seven states — Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah,Vermont and Washington — have passed legislation this year aimed at protectingemployee passwords, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Canadian HR Reporter

(Editorial) Haslam right to be cautious about revenue from bill
Tennessee could realize an estimated $748.5 million in sales taxes from online purchases, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. knownews.com

Education-related briefs for Round Rock
Kathryn Buckner, a 2009 graduate of Stony Point High School and a human resource development major at Texas A&M University, recently began a spring internship in Washington D.C. as part of the National Conference of State Legislatures. statesman.com

June 7

NH Senate approves social media protections
Last year, six states — California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan and New Jersey — passed similar laws barring employers from requiring the disclosure of Facebook, Twitter or other account information, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/Bloomberg Businessweek

Lawmakers consider fee on fuel-sippers to raise road funds
According to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, so far this year, at least eight states, including Michigan, have introduced bills to create taxes or fees on such vehicles. Crain's Detroit Business

Required To 'Friend' The Boss On Facebook? More States Say No
Concern that employers' snooping into workers' social media accounts has become so widespread that 35 state legislatures have introduced bills barring employers from asking for employees' social media account passwords, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AOL Jobs

Families of violent patients: We're locked out of care
Source for chart on Limited Requirements to Disclosure: National Conference of State Legislatures. The Wall Street Journal

Niceley seeks to lower grocery tax through Internet sales tax revenue
A National Conference of State Legislatures report says that Tennessee lost about $400 million in sales tax revenue through Internet sales in 2012. Knoxville News Sentinel

June 6

One-third of Texas' Congressmembers double-dip with public pensions
"The situation isn't any different, technically, from a teacher receiving pension payments from Texas and doing some part-time or full-time teaching in another state," said Ron Snell, who studies state pensions for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Washington Examiner

NRA-backed Kansas law bans government lobbying on gun issues; critics say it stifles debate
The National Conference of State Legislatures hadn’t heard of activity on the topic, and the idea is so novel that even the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said it didn’t know enough about the law to comment on it. AP/The Washington Post

Teacher Pension Systems Headed in Opposite Directions, Report Finds
From 2009 through 2011, 43 states enacted “significant” pension reforms affecting at least one of their state employee or teacher plans, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Governing

States Are All Over the (Status) Map
The National Conference of State Legislatures has a handy chart breaking down each state by how close it comes to being a full-time job for lawmakers. Congress.org Blog

Paris Jackson and Teenage Suicide Prevention
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 900,000 youth planned suicide during a major episode of depression. The Guardian

Growing social media privacy protection irks employment lawyers
Seven states - Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Vermont and Washington - have passed legislation this year aimed at protecting employee passwords, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Six states passed laws in 2012, and legislation is pending in 36 other states. Reuters

States want drug tests for welfare recipients. That’s a terrible idea. (Opinion)
Legislation requiring some form of drug testing or screening for welfare recipients has been proposed in at least 29 states this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Measures have passed in eight states. The Washington Post

June 5

Teacher-Pension Costs Could Put Squeeze on More Districts
According to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures, 48 states revised public-employee plans between 2009 and 2012, often by raising contributions or the required age or service commitments, or by reducing benefits. Education Week

Maine Senate rejects bill to expand confidentiality of 911 calls
Maine currently is one of five states that place certain restrictions on the release of 911 recordings or information contained in the recordings, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Recordings, for example, are confidential. Transcripts are public. Another six states treat 911 recordings as being fully confidential. Portland Press Herald

Senate bill lets states tax Internet purchases
States lost a total of $23 billion last year because they couldn't collect taxes on out-of-state sales, according to a study by three business professors at the University of Tennessee. About $11.4 billion was lost from Internet sales; the rest was from purchases made through catalogs, mail orders and telephone orders, the study said. The study was done for the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/ABC WXYZ

June 4

Maine House vote kills bill to elect top state officials
Maine is currently the only state to allow the Legislature to elect people to the three positions, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures that Cushing presented at a public hearing on the bill in April. Portland Press Herald

Other states tackling their pension problems
The National Conference of State Legislatures counted 32 states as making major changes to their pension systems in 2011 and another 10 last year. Chicago Sun-Times

Losing Revenue From Hybrids Prompts States to Hit Owners
Fuel taxes provide close to 40 percent of state revenue for highways, according to a 2012 report by the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg Businessweek

Mission Impossible: Native San Gabriel Valley tribes seek U.S. recognition
Most tribes merely use state recognition as part of their federal application packet, said Shelly McDonald, with the State Tribal Institute at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Los Angeles Daily News

State Super-Minorities Lead to Hawaiian ‘Lone Ranger’ Movie Trip
In a few states, those that are deeply Republican-red or Democratic-blue, the partisan hue is so one-sided that it’s creating super-minorities in some Senate chambers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg Businessweek

How We Need to Legislate Drones
All but seven states have proposed or adopted legislation relating to the domestic use of drones, or unmanned aerial systems, in domestic airspace, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Gizmodo

Vermont regulator defends denial of Obamacare co-op's license application
Earlier this year, the National Conference of State Legislatures warned that "health insurance purchasing cooperatives are unsuccessful because of their inability to gain market share." Washington Examiner

Irreconcilable differences: Conflicting marriage laws a problem for gay couples
“In some way, that kind of coexistence has been in place since Massachusetts approved [gay] marriage in 2003,” said Jack Tweedie, a specialist on human-resources issues at the National Conference of State Legislatures. There are many issues where states have “a patchwork of laws,” such as gun ownership and concealment, noted Jon Kuhl, a spokesman for NCSL. The Washington Times

June 3

Chris Christie’s confusing U.S. Senate situation
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, New Jersey is one of 36 states were Senate vacancies are filled by an appointment from the governor until an election can be held. Constitution Center

Front-line heroes subject to budget cuts, pay disparity
A dozen states don't fund EMS at all, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported in a study last year. Sentinel & Enterprise

House Democrats pass bill to hike minimum wage
However, 23 other states are weighing legislation to increase the minimum, according to a Feb. 13 assessment by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Morning Sentinel
    
Vt. Law Pushes Life Insurance Firms to Pay
Since last year, eight states have passed legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. They are Alabama, Kentucky, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota and Vermont. Valley News

Congressmen: You have no right to vote (Opinion)
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 30 states have active voter ID laws, and three other states have law that were passed but are pending. Philadelphia Daily News

The Risks of Relying on User Fees
he National Conference of State Legislatures warned about this more than a decade ago when it stated, “If user charges exceed the cost of providing services, or if separate accounting is not used, governments are vulnerable to court rulings that such charges are taxes.” Governing

NH Bill Shields Personal Social Media Accounts From Employers
Last year, six states — California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan and New Jersey — passed similar laws barring employers from requiring the disclosure of Facebook, Twitter or other account information, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/Boston CBS

Why Isn't the U.S. Better at Public-Private Partnerships?
Indeed, a recent report by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) warned of a “knowledge and experience gap” in the U.S., citing a 2009 McGraw-Hill survey that found 61 percent of state and local officials had no experience dealing with P3s and did not fully understand them. Governing

Gun Liability Insurance Could Be Mandatory For Firearms Owners Under New State Proposals
No state has a gun liability insurance law. Since 2003, almost two dozen such bills have been rejected nationwide, 15 of them in New York, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters/The Huffington Post

Officials crack down on booze-serving parents
The alcohol can typically be given to the minor in the guardian's home or a private setting and there are no age limits, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. However, nowhere is it legal to give alcohol to other people's children. CNN

Teens locked up for life without a second chance
Today, there are only a handful of states -- including Alaska, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Oregon -- that prohibit sentencing minors to life without parole, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. CNN

With mental health legislation stalled in Congress, states act
Karmen Hanson, program manager at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said just about every state is looking at some aspect of mental health care, and about two dozen have introduced targeted legislation this year. Politico

Online poker lobby wants more GOP lawmakers at table
“We believe the federal government should be respectful of states' rights to regulate online gaming, and we see these bills as an affront to states' sovereignty,” said James Ward, committee director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Hill

The Politics of Free Food (Opinion)
“There’s a personal relationship attached to gifts and perks,” said Peggy Kerns, the director of the National Conference of State Legislatures Center for Ethics in Government. The New York Times

Haslam, Harwell, Ramsey: Taxing Internet Could Mean Lowering Other TN Taxes
The National Conference of State Legislatures has estimated that Tennesseans avoided $748.5 million in sales taxes on online purchases last year -- about $400 million that would have gone to the state and the rest to city and county governments combined statewide. KnoxNews.com

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