NCSL in the News | June 2015

6/1/2015

June 30

A look at 13 states using redistricting commissions 
Washington Post 
The Constitution requires boundaries for U.S. House districts to be redrawn after each census. While that task typically is done by state legislatures, 13 states use commissions as part of their congressional redistricting process. The amount of legislative involvement with those commissions varies by state. Here’s how redistricting works in those states, as categorized by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
California Vaccination Bill Passes, Heads to Governor
Wall Street Journal
Most states give religious exemptions, and 20 states permit philosophical exemptions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Only two states, Mississippi and West Virginia, don’t have religious or personal-belief exemptions.

Court ruling spurs backers' hopes for redistricting changes
MyFox Memphis
The GOP controls the governorship and legislature of 24 states, including Nebraska's officially nonpartisan legislature. Seven states are run by Democrats and 19 are split, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Independent Redistricting Panel Upheld by U.S. Supreme Court
Bloomberg
Arizona and California are the only two states that effectively exclude lawmakers from the redistricting process, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Justices Uphold Arizona's System for Redistricting 
ABC News 
Only Arizona and California essentially remove the legislature from the process, the National Conference of State Legislatures said in a brief supporting the Arizona GOP lawmakers' challenge.  

Supreme Court upholds use of independent boards to draw congressional districts 
Washington Times 
Commissions have the primary responsibility to redraw district boundaries in 11 additional states, three others use advisory commissions and five states have back-up commissions that can step in if the legislature fails to pass a plan on time, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Supreme Court upholds congressional districts in Arizona 
Al Jazeera America 
Only Arizona and California essentially remove the legislature from the process, the National Conference of State Legislatures said, in support of the Republican lawmakers in Arizona.
 
N.J. lawmakers: no powdered alcohol in the Garden State
NJ.com
Maryland and Minnesota have opted for temporary, one year bans on the substance, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. New Jersey's legislation dictates the permanent ban go into effect immediately.

Gay Marriage Opponents Pushing For Religious Exemption Bill
CBS Local
Twenty-one states currently have some form of Religious Freedom Acts, and 17 states introduced new bills this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Will tension between lawmakers and regulators hamstring the Clean Power Plan?
Environment & Energy Publishing
That's why "smart governors are bringing everybody to the table," said Morris, also a member of the National Conference of State Legislatures' Executive Committee. The Clean Power Plan sets individual emissions rates for each state and tasks air officials with writing sweeping compliance plans that could determine the future of coal, natural gas and renewable energy 
 
Supreme Court upholds independent redistricting commissions 
The Olympian 
The 14 members of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission are also selected with what the National Conference of State Legislatures described in a brief as “minimal input from the state legislature.”

Bill banning powdered alcohol heads to Christie's desk
NorthJersey.com
The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved the sale of Palcohol, whose makers marketed freeze-dried vodka and “powderitas” to backpackers and other who might want a “lightweight, more portable form of liquor,” in March. More than a dozen states have banned it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

GILL-TURNER BILL TO END EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION ...
PolitickerNJ
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the following 11 states currently limit employers’ use of credit information in employment: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. Similar legislation was introduced in 19 other states in 2014, NCSL reported.
 
California ponders end to religious exemption on vaccines
NOLA.com
To date, only two other states do not allow exemptions to people who cite religion as a reason not to vaccinate -- Mississippi and West Virginia -- according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 29

Support for law requiring sales tax for online purchases growing in Utah
KSL.com
The amount of money Utahns should be paying annually is somewhere between $80 million and $300 million, according to Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, the incoming president of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Push to raise smoking age to 21 could light up after Hawaii OKs change
Fox News
"Now that it has happened, it may be seen as being more likely to pass in another state," said Karmen Hanson, program manager at the National Conference of State Legislatures. "If another, large, mainland state passes a tobacco purchase age to 21 it would be pretty significant, because no 'large state' has yet to pass this type of legislation."

On prisons, Arizona stays tough
Arizona Daily Star
At least one in three juveniles arrested has an emotional or learning disability, or both. Between 65 percent and 70 percent of the 2 million adolescents arrested nationwide each year have a mental health disorder, the National Conference of State Legislatures says.

From taxes to tolls, states struggle to fund transportation needs
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
No state raised gasoline taxes in 2010, 2011 or 2012, according to sources such as the National Conference of State Legislatures, but about 10 states have done so since. One reason: Fuel taxes stabilized and then fell, which meant state pump tax increases were less noticeable.
 
Police body cams raise privacy concerns around Indiana
Evening News and Tribune
At least 10 states have passed laws dealing with cameras worn by law enforcement, with most limiting what recordings may be publicly released, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

HEALTH CARE: Assembly OKs strict vaccine bill
Press-Enterprise
California is among 20 states that allow for personal belief exemptions and among 48 that allow for religious exemptions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
States of Alert: Political and Church Leaders Seek Shelter Against Marriage Ruling
National Catholic Register
Another avenue of potential protection is through Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs). As of mid-June, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), at least 17 states had introduced legislation creating or altering existing laws affecting religious freedom. Two states this year passed RFRAs

Harrison: Democratic theatrics
NorthJersey.com
Despite this contention, the National Conference of State Legislators reports that at least 10 other states require regular evaluation of incentives

California's vaccine bill could be trend setter
U-T San Diego
The measles resurgence led lawmakers in a dozen states to consider modifying their exemption laws. But none has attempted changes as broad as California’s, said Christine Goodwin, a program manager at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
First same-sex marriage takes place in Bartow
Daily Tribune News
Prior to the ruling, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ website, at least 37 states and the District of Columbia had recognized same-sex marriage.
 
Rosendale gives legislative update
Sidney Herald
I attended a leadership program sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislators last week in Washington, DC. It was a great opportunity to meet with other state legislative leaders from around the nation to discuss the challenges and opportunities that we all face.

June 26

California Law To Curtail Vaccine Exemptions Clears Hurdle
NPR
If SB 277 becomes law, California would become the 32nd state to ban the philosophical exemption and just the third — West Virginia and Mississippi — to not offer a religious exemption, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

California Assembly approves stricter vaccine mandate
Los Angeles Times
If the bill becomes law, California will be the 32nd state to deny exemptions grounded in personal or moral beliefs, but only the third to bar exceptions based on religious convictions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
California to Foot Bill for Health Care of Undocumented Children
Bloomberg
California was the most active in enacting immigration measures in 2014, approving 26 of the 171 laws passed by U.S. state legislatures, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures.

Minimum wage hike good for MN
DL-Online
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Minnesota is about in the middle of the road for minimum wage rates compared with other states.

Police body cams raise privacy concerns
Lebanon Reporter
At least 10 states have passed laws dealing with cameras worn by law enforcement, with most limiting what recordings may be publicly released, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Vote expected today on state vaccine bill
OCRegister
California is among 20 states that allow for personal belief exemptions and among 48 that allow for religious exemptions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Democrats keep promise to fully fund pensions, tout bills requiring $300 million
PolitickerNJ
California, Indiana, North Carolina and Pennsylvania already have laws requiring quarterly pension payments, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures

12 facts about Texas and the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage case
mySanAntonio.com
Texas is one of 14 states that prohibit same-sex marriage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Georgia also outlaw the practice
 
California Legislature Passes Mandatory Vaccination Bill - The Daily Signal
Daily Signal
If Gov. Jerry Brown signs the bill into law, California will join West Virginia and Mississippi as only the third state barring religious exemptions from vaccination requirements, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The governor has not yet said whether he would approve the bill.
 
States pursue changes on use of license plate readers - Land Line Magazine
Land Line Magazine
Automated readers in the state already are available for use by law enforcement, by parking enforcement entities, or for controlling access to secure areas, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures

Calif. state Assembly approves controversial vaccination bill
89.3 KPCC
If SB 277 becomes law, California would become the 32nd state to banning the philosophical exemption and just the third – West Virginia and Mississippi – to not offer a religious exemption, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Judge Clears Way for Minnesota Dairy Farmer to Test 'Right to Peddle'
Food Safety News
Minnesota, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), prohibits the sale of raw dairy with the exception of “milk, cream, skim milk, goat milk, or sheep milk occasionally secured or purchased for personal use by any consumer at the place or farm where the milk is produced.”

O'Donnell Votes With California State Assembly to Approve ...
Long Beach Post
With the passage of the bill, California becomes the 32nd state in the nation to remove the Personal Belief Exemption (PBE) from its school vaccination requirements, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. SB277 eliminates the PBE and only allows for medical exemptions, such as documented diseases and family history, beginning July 1, 2016.

June 25

California to Foot Bill for Health Care of Undocumented Children
Bloomberg
California was the most active in enacting immigration measures in 2014, approving 26 of the 171 laws passed by U.S. state legislatures, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. It was the first state along with Texas to enact legislation in 2001 to extend in-state tuition to undocumented students, according to NCSL. At least 18 states now offer the benefit.

Camden: Without budget, Legislature breaks unenforceable law
The Columbian
Washington is inching its way toward the dubious honor of being the last state that needs to pass a budget by July 1 to get 'er done. It's a fairly popular date for budgeting purposes, and 46 states have fiscal years that start then, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

STATE: Review ordered of body cameras
Goshen News
At least 10 states have passed laws dealing with cameras worn by law enforcement, with most limiting what recordings may be publicly released, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

As overtime drags on, Tedisco calls for three-month session
Capitol Confidential
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 39 state legislatures have some sort of legal time limit on how long they can be in session (New York is one of 11 states that do not). Of those 39 states, eight have statutes requiring session to be limited to 90 calendar days or less per year, 12 are limited to 90 legislative days or less per year, and four require less than 90 days in some years (for example, in even years, the Kansas Legislature is limited to 90 calendar days in session in even years; but in odd years, the session has no limit). According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 39 state legislatures have some sort of legal time limit on how long they can be in session (New York is one of 11 states that do not). Of those 39 states, eight have statutes requiring session to be limited to 90 calendar days or less per year, 12 are limited to 90 legislative days or less per year, and four require less than 90 days in some years (for example, in even years, the Kansas Legislature is limited to 90 calendar days in session in even years; but in odd years, the session has no limit).
 
 

Senate OKs bill to allow Ohioans to register online to vote
Huntington Herald Dispatch
At least 20 states offer online registration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Several others have moved to create online voter registration systems but have yet to implement them.

House Passes Measure to Stall EPA Clean Power Plan
POWER magazine
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, so far, legislatures in 32 states have introduced 81 bills or resolutions related to the Clean Power Plan and power-plant carbon dioxide emissions rules. Of these, 24 states have introduced 52 bills, and seven states have enacted legislation: Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia. An additional 19 states have introduced 29 nonbinding resolutions, and 10 of these states have adopted resolutions.

State Legislature to meet Thursday in hopes of casting final votes of ...
Albany Times Union
The public national discussion around same-sex marriage first began in 1993 when the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that laws denying same-sex couples the right to marry violated state constitutional equal protection rights unless the state could show a "compelling reason" for such discrimination. Since that time, many states have taken actions to clearly define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman and others have allowed same-sex couples to marry.

June 24

Why Joining the Urban Agriculture Movement Will Make You Healthier
U.S. News & World Report
From 2007 to 2013, 13 states and the District of Columbia passed legislation to authorize zoning for urban farms and create councils that promote local food economies, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Concerns about civil liberties in the air as Bergen seeks to use drones
NorthJersey.com
In New Jersey, legislators are considering a bill that would set guidelines for the use of drones by law enforcement. A handful of other states already have such measures in place, including Illinois, Utah and Wisconsin, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Can unlimited contributions to political parties really reduce polarization?
Washington Post
The list of states with and without limits on contributions to parties comes from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

States lure tourists, then tax them
Bend Bulletin
“I think a big part of it is tourists don’t vote (where they visit),” said Mandy Rafool, a state tax policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). “There’s a little more appetite for passing those types of taxes. You can make the case that tourists do put pressure on the infrastructure and that’s one way of making them pay for the resources they use."

National Conference of State Legislatures weighs in on federal metals theft legislation
Recycling Today
The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, says it agrees with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), which has come out against Congressional attempts to introduce a federal solution to combat metal theft. The NCLS sent a letter earlier this month to Sen. Amy Klobuchar, stating that a federal metals theft law “may preempt some state laws and hinder the work that is underway in the states to battle this problem.
 
Notable Lawsuits Over School Prayer in Arkansas
NewsMax
Arkansas Law protects the rights of teachers to lead a moment of silence at the beginning of each day, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Many South Plains counties won't be quick to issue licenses if Supreme Court OKs same-sex
LubbockOnline.com
Texas is among the 14 states that have not legalized gay marriage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Business is business say several in Lubbock wedding industry who would cater to same-sex wedding
LubbockOnline.com
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to make a decision this week or next week. Texas is one of 14 states where gay marriage is not legal, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Hemp welcomed back into Minnesota crop mix on small scale
CBS Minnesota
At least 20 states have legalized industrial hemp production under prescribed limitations and that is commonly tied to research activities, according to National Conference of State Legislatures data.

June 23

What Are the Data Breach Notification Laws in Your State?
Fox Business
At least 32 states have data-breach notificatiobn laws on the docket this legislative session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most of those bills are tightening and expanding existing laws.

Maine House spikes bill to make ballot initiatives more difficult
Press Herald     
Maine is among the 24 states that allow citizens to petition the government to enact new laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Little change in state insurance exchanges seen
Tire Business
In addition, federal funds to help states establish their own exchanges are no longer available. And at least nine states have bans on implementing further provisions of the law without legislative approval, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

State laws still block state-run Obamacare exchanges
Watch Dog
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, laws banning state-run Obamacare exchanges are on the books in the following states.

States lure tourists, then tax them
Tribune News Service
“I think a big part of it is tourists don’t vote (where they visit),” said Mandy Rafool, a state tax policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). “There’s a little more appetite for passing those types of taxes. You can make the case that tourists do put pressure on the infrastructure and that’s one way of making them pay for the resources they use."

June 22

With Washington Stymied, It's Up to the States to Pass Gun Reform
NBCNews.com
According to an analysis conducted by the National Conference of State Legislatures, state lawmakers enacted nearly 70 gun related measures in 201

Colorado exchange could change a little or a lot under waivers
The Denver Post
"Consumer confusion and frustration are a widespread thing across most of these exchanges," said Dick Cauchi, health program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Paid sick leave for all N.J. workers? Bill set to advance Monday
New Jersey Online
Three states — California, Connecticut and Massachusetts — have paid sick leave laws on the books, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Lawmakers dread gay marriage case ruling
Amarillo.com
Texas is among 14 states that have not legalized gay marriage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Michigan tops nation for budget controls
Lansing State Journal
The report itself is unavailable to non-subscribers of the FFIS site, founded by the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatur

Make absentee voting easier? That's a GOP nightmare
Detroit Free Press
More than half the states and the District of Columbia already authorize no-reason absentee voting, and the National Conference of State Legislatures, which keeps tabs on best election practices statewide, has documented the salutary impact on voter participation. Michigan, by the way, is one of just 13 states that permits neither early voting nor no-reason absentee voting.

A welcoming environment is crucial for Michigan's economy
MLive.com
Twenty-one states have so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Acts that exempt people and groups from having to follow certain laws based on their religious beliefs. Fifteen more states are considering such legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Texas Republicans expect 'sad day,' same-sex marriage advocates hopeful for Supreme Court ruling
LubbockOnline.com
Texas is among the 14 states that have not legalized gay marriages, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Utah's Herbert wants more say in ed policy
Education Dive
As Congress debates changes to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the National Governors Association and National Conference of States Legislatures have created proposals for how the revised bill could give them more control in how their states meet its requirements.

New Mexico legislative chamber to trade in old technology
TheNewsTribune.com
Every legislature now offers live audio or video webcasts of floor sessions, and more committee sessions are going online, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Just this year, at least seven legislatures debuted new websites aimed at making it easier to find information, interact with legislators and follow the legislative process.

State School Board against giving governor veto power over Title I funds
Deseret News
One such change is backed by the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Governors Association, where Gov. Gary Herbert will become chairman next month.
 
Lure tourists, then tax 'em
Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel
“I think a big part of it is tourists don’t vote (where they visit),” said Mandy Rafool, a state tax policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures. “There’s a little more appetite for passing those types of taxes. You can make the case that tourists do put pressure on the infrastructure and that’s one way of making them pay for the resources they use.” 

What Are the Data Breach Notification Laws in Your State?
STLtoday.com
At least 32 states have data-breach notification laws on the docket this legislative session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most of those bills are tightening and expanding existing laws.
 
Judge doesn't expect opt-outs on gay weddings
The Robesonian
Currently, only Utah has passed a similar law allowing government officials to refuse to marry couples for religious reasons, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Oklahoma and Texas have passed laws allowing religious organizations to choose not to solemnize marriages.

Spin Control: No criminal charges allowed in case of late budget
The Spokesman Review
Washington is inching its way toward the dubious honor of being the last state that needs to pass a budget by July 1 to get ’er done. It’s a fairly popular date for budgeting purposes, and 46 states have fiscal years that start then, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Herbert denied veto power over Title I funds by School Board
KSL.com
One such change is backed by the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Governors Association, where Gov. Gary Herbert will become chairman next month.
 
Report: WV receives little federal aid for education
State Journal
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, many states enacted legislation to address all three of the available means of influencing college affordability: appropriations, financial aid and tuition policy.

June 19

States Try To Remove Barriers For Ex-Offenders
Huffington Post
“The idea is that you can at least get a face-to-face interview and be considered on merit, not on your record,” said Alison Lawrence, a senior policy specialist on criminal justice for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

California Is On Track For a Major Renewable Energy Boost
Greentech Media 
tate leaders are also preparing legislation and public comments in anticipation of the final EPA rule, which is expected to be released sometime in August. The National Conference of State Legislatures offers acomprehensive list of state action on the CPP.

Common Core: Opposition in Southern Statehouses
WRKF 
According to theNational Conference of State Legislators, this year more than 730 Common Core bills were introduced across the country — including 21 state proposals for repeal. (with graphic)

Governor asks for bigger role in Utah education
Standard-Examiner 
Congress is working to reauthorize ESEA, also known as the No Child Left Behind Act, and may rewrite portions of the law. The National Governors Association and National Conference of State Legislatures have drafted a proposal for changes they'd like to see.

Film tax incentive bill again dies on cutting room floor in Tallahassee
SaintPetersBlog
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 39 states had some type of film-incentive program existing in 2014. Florida did not come to the party with a substantial incentive package until 2010, setting aside about $296 million.

Colorado joins more than two dozen states in enacting patent troll ...
Legal News Line
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a total of 19 states have introduced legislation to create or amend state laws that punish bad faith assertions.

Morning News Alert: Facebook, (NASDAQ:FB), Delta Air Lines ...
WS News Publisher
Homeless youth have some of the highest school dropout rates. About 75 percent of homeless youth nationally have dropped out or will drop out of school, according to the National Conference for State Legislatures.

Oregon Insurance Division poised to approve 2016 rate hikes
Bend Bulletin
Oregon's insurance market has the seventh-cheapest silver plan premium in the country this year for a 40-year-old nonsmoker, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 18

A.B. Stoddard: A big step on NCLB
The Hill
Stakeholders from across the spectrum of interests have praised the effort by Alexander and Murray, including the National Governors Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the National School Boards Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Third Way and the National Education Association. 

State and Local Groups Praise New Online Sales Tax Bill
Fidelity
"It's a good bill," said Max Behlke, manager of state-federal relations for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "It's the bill that the president is going to sign into law" to address the Internet sales tax issue, he added.

The Challenges and Opposition to Common Core
Mississippi Public Broadcasting 
According to the National Conference of State Legislators, this year more than 730 Common Core bills were introduced across the country — including 21 state proposals for repeal. (with graphic)

Students push for tuition equity in higher education
The Progressive Pulse 
At least 18 state across the country, including Texas and Utah, currently allow in-state tuition for undocumented students, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Medical marijuana backers announce new campaign to get signatures
TBO.com
Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have allowed medical marijuana under state law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Advocates for medical marijuana disappointed in Legislature
Mason City Globe Gazette
A total of 23 states — including Illinois and Minnesota — have medical marijuana programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Missouri has a limited program.

Breast-milk pumping at work is legal, but needs more support
Danville Commercial News
Indiana is one of 27 states and the District of Columbia with a law related to breast-feeding in the workplace, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Hoosier working mothers have had a lactation law on the books since 2008.

New gun laws need greater scrutiny
The Jefferson Post
Also, the Legislative Building and Legislative Office Building don’t have metal detectors. Roughly half of the states use them – walk-through, hand-held or both – at their legislative buildings, according to information from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 17

Republicans are pushing back against minimum wage reform in Michigan
Business Insider
The federal minimum hourly wage has been $7.25 since 2009. Currently 29 states, including Michigan, and the District of Columbia have minimum wages above the federal level, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Michigan's minimum wage is $8.15 an hour.

States and Feds Disagree on Data Breach Proposals
Governing 
At least 32 states considered legislation this year that would establish or expand data breach policies, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
New Tennessee Law Lets Ride-Share Companies Self-Regulate
Government Technology
Watson, the primary Senate sponsor of the bill, was in Denver last week where he spoke to lawmakers from other states about the Tennessee law at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Douglas Shinkle, a transportation analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, says the best he can figure is 22 states have addressed ride-sharing in various ways.

Missouri, unlike other states, haslimited options if health subsidies struck down
STLtoday.com
Missouri is hardly alone. According to the NationalConference of State Legislatures, nine other states have similar laws. 

Shorter school weeks solve budget dilemmas
Effingham Daily News 
The Legislature opened the door to four-day school weeks in 2009, when it allowed school officials to measure instructional time in hours instead of days, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a non-partisan group that monitors state policies.

Gazette opinion: The budget editorial we don't need in Montana
Billings Gazette 
As of June 9, only 24 states had budgets for their 2016 fiscal year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. However, 46 states have fiscal years beginning July 1

Schnurman: Politics kills clean-energy program in Texas
Dallas News
Roughly three dozen states offer incentives for EVs, including cash rebates, HOV-lane exemptions, electricity discounts and free parking, said the National Conference on State Legislatures. But some states are cutting EV incentives for philosophical and budget reasons.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?: Are mandatory drug tests for welfare ...
nwitimes.com
As of May, according to the National Council of State Legislatures, at least 13 states had passed legislation requiring some form of drug testing for poor relief or welfare recipients.

Our View: Utah grows some political muscle
Standard-Examiner
Our national leaders in Congress possess more opportunity to impact legislation than their peers, and our state leaders affiliated with ALEC, the National League of Cities, and the National Council of State Legislatures, have a preeminent voice in crafting legislation and policy positions from those groups.

Las Vegas Sands and Sands Cares Announce Aid to Homeless Youth in Las Vegas
New Jersey Online
Homeless youth have some of the highest school dropout rates. Approximately 75 percent of homeless youth nationally have dropped out or will drop out of school, according to the National Conference for State Legislatures. 

June 16

Retooled Online Sales Tax Mandate Pushed in House
CQ Roll Call
“I think it could pass the House because it has strong bipartisan support, and it could potentially clear the Senate. If there are any disagreements, I think they would be resolved in conference negotiations,” said Max Behlke, manager of state and federal relations for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

ColoradoSupreme Court says companies can fire workers for using medical marijuana in their off ...
Washington Post 
Meanwhile, medical marijuana is allowed in nearly half the states in the country, with 23 states and Washington, D.C. allowing legal medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

N.J. Democrats look to expand voting options
Philly.com
New Jersey, which has a vote-by-mail program, is one of 36 states that allow some form of preelection voting, though not all of those states offer early in-person voting, said Wendy Underhill, program manager for elections at the National Conference of State Legislatures

New Tennessee ride-sharing law hailed as model for nation
Chattanooga Times Free Press
Watson, the primary Senate sponsor of the bill, was in Denver last week where he spoke to lawmakers from other states about the Tennessee law at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Douglas Shinkle, a transportation analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, says the best he can figure is 22 states have addressed ride-sharing in various ways.

Forcing Workers to Save Just 3% Won't Solve the Retirement Crisis ...
Wall Street Journal
This year, 15 states considered legislation dealing with automatic programs, up from 12 in 2014 and seven in 2013, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures

Legislative bills put spotlight on cost of citizens initiatives
The Seattle Times
While all states allow lawmakers to refer issues to the ballot, in 24 states, voters can place a measure on the ballot, either through the referendum or initiative process, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. According to the conference, if a ballot measure will have a monetary effect on the state’s budget, 13 states require a fiscal-impact statement to be drafted and placed on the petition or in the voter pamphlet. Several of those states also include that same information directly on the ballot: California, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Wyoming.

Support erodes in Legislature to change how questions get on ballot
Press Herald 
Maine is among the 24 states that allow citizens to petition the government to enact new laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some states have tried to enact a geographical requirement to the signature-gathering process.

House leaders travel to White House to talk East Ky. highway projects
Hazard Herald
Speaker Stumbo and three other House leaders – Majority Leader Rocky Adkins, Speaker Pro Tem Jody Richards and Majority Whip Johnny Bell – are in Washington, D.C., to take part in the National Conference of State Legislature’s Symposium for Legislative Leaders. While there, they took the opportunity to meet with the federal leaders to highlight the need for two major road projects that would better connect Eastern Kentucky with West Virginia

Smoke pot on duty or off-duty, you will still get fired in Colorado, says court
The American Bazaar
Meanwhile, the legalization of medical marijuana has proliferated to nearly half the states in the Union, with 23 states and Washington, D.C. allowing legal medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Schnurman: Politics kills clean-energy program in Texas | Dallas Morning News
Dallas Morning News
Roughly three dozen states offer incentives for EVs, including cash rebates, HOV-lane exemptions, electricity discounts and free parking, said the National Conference on State Legislatures. But some states are cutting EV incentives for philosophical and budget reason.

More districts consider four-day school weeks to cut costs
Muskogee Daily Phoenix
The Legislature opened the door to four-day school weeks in 2009, when it allowed school officials to measure instructional time in hours instead of days, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a non-partisan group that monitors state policies.

June 15

The Story Behind The Record-High Graduation Rate
NPR 
On the economics front, "We knew that 63 percent of jobs in the next decade would require some postsecondary education," says Sunny Deye, who works on education policy for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "There was an understanding that the way we were preparing kids for the 21st century economy needed to change. We had to shift the paradigm from allowing some kids to drop out to recognizing that a high school diploma was now the bar

How will your current credit card debt impact your future?
Deseret News
There are other examples of measures aimed at facilitating a higher rate of personal savings. “We have seen the level of legislation around retirement security increasing among state legislatures year after year," said Luke Martel, a program manager for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

'Religious Freedom' Is a Losing Argument Against LGBT Rights
Pacific Standard
And according to theNational Conference of State Legislatures, 17 states have introduced legislation creating or amending RFRA laws in 2015 alone. Other states are clearly getting the message.
 
Gannon: Legislature's gun measure
Greenville Daily Reflector 
Roughly half of the states use them — walk-through, hand-held or both — at their legislative buildings, according to information from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Our Opinion: Vermont needs an independent ethics commission
Bennington Banner 
State ethics commissions enforce ethics laws; their jurisdictions vary widely among the states that have commissions. The National Conference of State Legislatures divides the jurisdictions of such state commissions into legislators, executive branch, candidates, local officials, lobbyists and vendors.

States at odds with feds on data breach proposals
GCN.com
At least 32 states considered legislation this year that would establish or expand data breach policies, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

House leaders travel to White House to continue talks on major ...
Berea Online
Speaker Stumbo and three other House leaders – Majority Leader Rocky Adkins, Speaker Pro Tem Jody Richards and Majority Whip Johnny Bell – are in Washington, D.C., to take part in the National Conference of State Legislature’s Symposium for Legislative Leaders. While there, they took the opportunity to meet with the federal leaders to highlight the need for two major road projects that would better connect Eastern Kentucky with West Virginia.

Vos stands by budget provisions on tenure, shared governance
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Everything else — the outrage from faculty, the concern about losing top educators and researchers — is "a lot of panic over something that's being sensationalized for political effect," the Assembly Speaker told the Journal Sentinel in an interview from Washington, D.C., where he was attending a National Conference of State Legislatures event.

Republican Tom Foley leaves the door open to running for governor again
FOX CT
While most states have an impeachment process for elected officials, less than 20 states are said to have recall provisions, where the public can vote to recall a state official. The state of Connecticut does not allow for recall elections of state officials, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Voter ID laws negatively affect voters and democratic reform
The Appalachian Online
The discussion over voter ID laws is necessary at this point because 34 states have passed some form of voter ID law and 32 of those laws are in effect, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Rep. Leslie Combs to take part in national panel discussing public-private partnerships
KY Forward
The National Conference of State Legislatures is convening the panel as part of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association’s annual P3 meeting, which will be held in Washington, D.C. Combs, D-Pikeville, will share the stage with legislators from Virginia, Indiana and Colorado.
 
Voter ID laws negatively affect voters and democratic reform
The Appalachian Online
The discussion over voter ID laws is necessary at this point because 34 states have passed some form of voter ID law and 32 of those laws are in effect, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Armstead urges EPA administrator to consider regulation impact
West Virginia MetroNews
Armstead was joined by legislative leaders from across the country at a White House briefing sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Armstead asked McCarthy to consider the overreach of the EPA, and said that the stringent regulations has resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs.

Medicaid expansion in Wyoming likely on hiatus in 2016 session
Casper Star-Tribune Online
From 2014 to 2016, the federal government is paying 100 percent of expansion costs, according to a document from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
No-tax pledge chafes Republicans in troubled states
Arizona Daily Sun
States moved aggressively to cut taxes after Republicans took control of 29 governor’s offices and 25 legislatures in 2010. The party increased those numbers to 31 and 30, respectively, after elections in 2014, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Don't mess with Munger's baby
Sacramento Bee
The California Legislature didn’t join the case, but the National Conference of State Legislatures, to which California belongs, filed a brief supporting the Arizona Legislature.

Texas Legislature OKs concealed handguns on college campuses
Sentinel Republic
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, seven states mandate to allow the carry of legally concealed handguns on public post-secondary campuses while another 23 give the ultimate decision whether or not to ban carry to the institutions themselves

Senate Passes Legislation to Allow Municipalities to Reduce Energy Costs Through Renewable ...
Madison County Courier                                      
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 44 states have implemented net-metering policies. 

Utah political leaders ascend to top positions
Deseret News
Webb: With Gov. Gary Herbert chairing the National Governors Association, and Curt Bramble presiding over the National Conference of State Legislators, andWayne Niederhauser taking top positions in the Assembly of States and the American Legislative Exchange Council, and Ralph Becker leading the National League of Cities, and Sens. Orrin Hatch,Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz chairing powerful congressional committees, I suggest these good Utahns collaboratively produce and promote a far-reaching agenda to leverage their leadership positions and accomplish something truly meaningful.

Budget holes force anti-tax GOP states to consider hikes
Columbus Dispatch
States moved aggressively to cut taxes after electoral gains in 2010 gave Republicans control of 29 governor’s offices and 25 legislatures. The GOP increased those numbers to 31 and 30, respectively, after elections in 2014, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Fending off encroachment critical in protecting military bases
Meridian Star 
 A 2013 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures states, "For example, night-time lighting from communities can reduce the effectiveness of night-vision training. Another issue of concern is that military activities may lead to undesirable consequences for neighboring communities …"

June 12

Are college campuses the place for concealed guns? Your Say Interactive
USA TODAY
California, New York and Florida are among the 20 states that have completely banned carrying concealed weapons on college campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And 63% of people who participated in a YouGov survey think that private universities should have the right to ban guns on their campuses even in states where carrying concealed weapons in a college environment is legal.

Republican Governors Start Learning to Like Tax Hikes
Bloomberg 
States moved aggressively to cut taxes after Republicans took control of 29 governor’s offices and 25 legislatures in 2010. The party increased those numbers to 31 and 30, respectively, after elections in 2014, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Why we spend billions to keep half a million unconvicted people
Washington Post
Some are certainly violent criminals who need to await their trials behind bars in the interest of public safety -- murderers, rapists and the like. But most -- three quarters of them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures -- are nonviolent offenders, arrested for traffic violations, or property crimes, or simple drug possession. Some will be given community service, or probation. 

North Carolina gives officials right to opt out of marrying same-sex.
The Guardian
Only Utah has a similar exemption for court officials, signed into law with the support of the governor, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
NC House approves gay marriage opt-out bill for judges, court workers
Washington Times
Utah also has a similar exemption, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Utah’s governor signed that law.

Kentucky House Leaders Discuss Transportation Needs 
WMKY 
Those attending with Speaker Stumbo included House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins, House Speaker Pro Tem Jody Richards and House Majority Whip Johnny Bell.  They arranged the meetings while in Washington for the National Conference of State Legislature’s Symposium for Legislative Leaders.

Council members call for short-term rental code enforcement
Austin American-Statesman
Joel Rasmussen, president of the Austin Rental Alliance, praised the ordinance, saying it had been lauded by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities and the National Conference of State Legislators. He said the city has near full compliance from the 1,247 registered short-term rentals in Austin but many of the problems come from unregistered rental properties

As top U.S. court weighs gay marriage, limited backlash brews in states
Daily Mail 
Prior to this year, 19 states already had religious freedom laws on the books, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Rivers looks to revive distracted driving bill
The Columbian
The debate over using cellphones while driving is being waged across the nation. There are 46 states, plus Washington, D.C., that ban text messaging for all drivers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. There are 14 states that ban all drivers from using handheld phones.

Ban on powdered alcohol approved by N.J. Senate panel
NJ.com
Thirteen states have banned powdered alcohol, while three have put in place one-year bans, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 11

Gun rights advocates' push for campus-carry measures like Texas' is slow going 
Los Angeles Times 
Texas would then join seven other states that already allow the carrying of concealed weapons on public college campuses — Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. (with graphic)

Norquist's No-Tax Pledge Chafes Republicans in Tattered States
Bloomberg
States moved aggressively to cut taxes after Republicans took control of 29 governor’s offices and 25 legislatures in 2010. The party increased those numbers to 31 and 30, respectively, after elections in 2014, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Thumbs down: Teen pregnancy remains an issue
Huntington Herald Dispatch
Speaking to the committee was Laura Tobler, program director of health access and primary care for the National Conference of State Legislatures. She noted that the Mountain State's teen pregnancy rate has dropped by 31 percent since 1991 and by 9 percent in more recent years, according to a report in the Charleston Daily Mail. But nationally, the teen pregnancy rates have fallen even more - by 57 percent since 1991 and by 10 percent in more recent years, she reported. In 2013, West Virginia's teen birth rate was 40.1 births per 1,000 girls ages 15-19, while the national rate was only about two-thirds of that, or 27 per 1,000.
 
States Standing Strong for Liberty
National Catholic Register
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), at least 17 states introduced legislation creating or altering existing laws affecting religious freedom. Two states this year passed Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, while some states took other actions to strengthen religious-liberty protections.

4 Things To Know About The Mass. Debate On Mandatory Minimum 
WBUR
In that same time period, 10 states, including South Carolina and Rhode Island, eliminated mandatory sentences for some drug offenses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Academic boot camp for vets expands to OU
The Oklahoma Daily
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, roughly 47 percent of veteran students have a spouse, child or both.  Moreover, 62 percent of veteran students are the first in their families to go to college, whereas only 43 percent of non-veteran students are first timers among their families. 

States Standing Strong for Liberty
NC Register 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), at least 17 states introduced legislation creating or altering existing laws affecting religious freedom. Two states this year passed Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, while some states took other actions to strengthen religious-liberty protections.
 
What's The Difference Between Minimum Wage and Living Wage in Little Rock?
News Max
Those who work for minimum wage in Little Rock, Arkansas, got a boost in 2014 when the state raised its minimum wage to $7.50 an hour, with further increases set to raise it to $8 in 2016 and $8.50 in 2017, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 10

Are automatic IRAs coming to your state? 
CNBC 
"We have seen the level of legislation around retirement security increasing among state legislatures year after year," said Luke Martel, a program manager at the National Conference of State Legislatures.At least 15 other states have also considered legislation that would create some kind of state-sponsored retirement plan for private sector employees, according to the NCSL, with varied results. 
 
Nevada Statute Supercharges School Choice
Education Week
Finally, the legality of the ESA program will likely be challenged in state—and potentially federal—court, according to Josh Cunningham, a senior policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Amendments in some state constitutions, including Nevada's, place stricter rules on public dollars going to private institutions, Mr. Cunningham said. He cited legal scholars who have said the program is so broad that the Supreme Court's ruling on the Ohio voucher case may not apply to it. Mr. Cunningham also pointed to another kind of test for the new program: Does competition created by school choice actually improve academic outcomes? "Most evidence shows that there isn't really any measurable impact," he said. "But a lot of the school choice proponents say, 'We haven't really had a program large enough to show the effect of competition.' Well, this is their chance."

Idaho's parental leave policies lag other states
Idaho State Journal
Only three of these states (California, New Jersey and Rhode Island) offer paid family and medical leave, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). All three states fund their programs through employee-paid payroll taxes and are administered through their respective disability programs. The NCSL added that the state of Washington was on the verge of passing a paid family leave law in 2007, but the law was never implemented and is now dead.

Maine lawmakers closer to enacting more restrictions on ballot ...
Press Herald
Maine is one of 24 states that allow citizens to petition the government to enact new laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some states have attempted to enact a geographical requirement to the signature gathering process.
 
Tennessee joins national debate on assisted suicide
WBIR-TV
Lawmakers in 17 states — not including Tennessee — introduced at least 31 bills related to some form of assisted suicide this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most failed or stalled, but there was recent action in California, where the state Senate approved an assisted suicide bill last week.

With campus gun vote, Texas lawmakers trample the memory of ...
PennLive.com
Currently, according to the website of the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states prohibit concealed weapons on college campuses. Twenty-three others allow college presidents or regents to make the decision. But it seems inevitable that campus-carry laws will spread.

Obasa: The Rise And Rise Of The New Lagos Assembly Speaker 
NAIJ.COM 
Obasa has attended both local and international trainings and seminars. He was at the prestigious Cambridge University, United Kingdom, for much coveted leadership training and also Slough University in the United Kingdom for managerial capacity building training. He similarly attended the prestigious National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) in the United States.

Guns on campus: Welcome to education, 2015 style: Viewpoint 
MassLive.com 
According to the National Conference on State Legislatures, Texas is No. 8 in allowing concealed weapons on post-secondary campuses. The others are Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin.
 
Illinois' legislature not only one still in session 
Rockford Register Star 
Over the last three years, about a dozen states annually held special sessions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Joyce still leading Senate panel on govt. performance
Nashoba Publishing
Joyce said he and his staff have been meeting individually with members of the committee and the senator hosted a meeting with Pew Charitable Trusts and has had discussions with the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Council of State Governments. 

State legislators get first-hand look at Buckley AFB processes, programs
AF.mil
Col. Darren Buck, 460th Space Wing vice commander, engages with members of the 2015 National Conference of State Legislatures June 4, 2015, at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The legislators learned about buffer-zone land issues, public-public public-private initiatives, and observed how Buckley AFB is successfully integrating with the State of Colorado to benefit both the base’s and the state’s populations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)
 
Combs taking part in panel discussing benefit of public-private partnerships
Grayson County News Gazette
The National Conference of State Legislatures is convening the panel as part of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association’s annual P3 meeting, which will be held in Washington, D.C. Combs, D-Pikeville, will share the stage with legislators from Virginia, Indiana and Colorado.
 
LETTER: Funding state roads requires leadership, creativity
morningstarpublishing.com
The National Conference of State Legislatures has prepared a toolkit for state legislatures on PPPs for transportation. The Pew Center on the States has prepared an excellent “Do’s and Don’ts" analysis for PPPs based on a critical analysis of Pennsylvania’s failed efforts for a transportation PPP. Legislators and their staffs should review this material to understand the substantive benefits of PPPs

June 9

Kentucky governor raises minimum wage for some state workers 
Reuters 
In 2014, lawmakers in 10 states plus the District of Columbia approved minimum wage increases and voters in four states approved increases through ballot measures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
 
Campus-carry gun laws won't make colleges safer: Our view
USA TODAY
Texas would became the eighth state to allow concealed weapons on public post-secondary campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Partial shutdown possible if Alabama doesn't pass budget
Anniston Star
An unusually large number of states have failed to pass budgets on time this year, said Arturo Perez, who studies state fiscal affairs for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most of those states start their budget year on July 1 —  and could shut down some state functions if a budget isn’t in place. “It’s a relatively rare occurrence for a state to go into  partial shutdown, but it does happen,” Perez said.

State budget gaps force longer sessions in some legislatures
Chattanooga Times Free Press
Brian Sigritz with the National Association of State Budget Officers said roughly half the states already have a final budget. Over the last three years, about a dozen states annually held special sessions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Tennessee joins national debate on assisted suicide
The Tennessean
Lawmakers in 17 states — not including Tennessee — introduced at least 31 bills related to some form of assisted suicide this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most failed or stalled, but there was recent action in California, where the state Senate approved an assisted suicide bill last week.

Poll: Idahoans favor raising minimum wage to $10 an hour
The Spokesman Review
The 2007 law that tied Idaho’s wage to the federal minimum passed as lawmakers rejected rival proposals to exceed the federal minimum. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 29 states including Washington set minimum wages higher than the federal level; Washington’s minimum wage is $9.47 an hour, and is adjusted annually for inflation.

Legislators take another look at drug-testing welfare recipients
Beckley Register-Herald
An expert from the National Conference of State Legislatures told lawmakers Monday that they could expect a nearly break-even proposition if they plan to drug-test welfare recipients. Rochelle Finzel, the group director of NCSL, said that in other states that have done drug testing, the cost has a range of $1.2 million to $1.3 million annually, while the estimated savings is $1.3 million. Finzel said a dozen states have testing systems. All of those states have some period of ineligibility for benefits which range from one month to one year, she said. Some states have approved treatment programs as part of welfare clients being able to regain benefits. "(There's a) fairly low rate in terms of how many do test positive," she said. However, Finzel said, those numbers may be difficult to relate to what percentage of welfare recipients test positive, as "it is difficult to know how many don't even apply for benefits anymore," she said.

Deficits, Medicaid force some legislatures to extend sessions ahead of state budget deadlines 
Minneapolis Star Tribune 
Over the last three years, about a dozen states annually held special sessions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

State budget gaps force longer sessions in some legislatures 
Chattanooga Times Free Press 
Over the last three years, about a dozen states annually held special sessions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Possible end to subsidy no prod to states on insurance exchanges 
Business Insurance 
And at least nine states have bans on implementing further provisions of the law without legislative approval, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Robert Kennedy Jr. in Albany to oppose meningitis vaccine bill
Legislative Gazette
Mississippi and West Virginia are the only two states that do not have this privilege, according to National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Most states unlikely to create insurance exchanges to save reform ...
Business Insurance
And at least nine states have bans on implementing further provisions of the law without legislative approval, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
AMA endorses personal belief exemption for vaccines nixed in California
Becker's Hospital Review 
As of February 2015, 15 states have introduced legislation that addresses non-medical exemptions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California is among 19 states that have personal belief or philosophical exemptions while 48 states allow religious exemptions

June 8

A Test-Drive for the 'Prius Tax'
The Atlantic
But as states are increasingly strapped for cash to pay for roads, the pendulum is swinging the other way, and not only in Oregon. A handful of states have now adopted special fees for electric and alternative-fuel vehicles, including three in 2015 alone, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Who's watching: camera use sporadic across Ohio sheriffs
Cincinnati.com
While no legislation concerning body cameras has been introduced in Ohio, there are 30 other states with pending legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

States perplexed by White House silence on health care contingencies
Alaska Dispatch News/CQ Roll Call
Nine states _ Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah and Wyoming _ have prohibitions on creating exchanges without legislative approval, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Red-light cameras will remain after veto
Highlands Herald/AP
Ten cities in Colorado use traffic-enforcement cameras. Nationally, 10 states prohibit the use of photo radar or red-light camera enforcement, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

NCSL Maps State Raw Milk Laws as 2015 Legislatures Reach Adjournment
Food Safety News
Perhaps no other organization in the country is better positioned to know the best time for drawing a new map of current state raw milk laws and policies than the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). The bipartisan group, based in Denver, closely tracks state and territorial legislative sessions, and it has chosen this moment as they are adjourning to report on what it simply calls “State Milk Laws.” The 2015 legislative season is over in most Midwestern, Western, and border states, and others are rapidly reaching their adjournment dates.

DeLissio discusses possibility of legalizing medical marijuana at town hall meeting
Montgomery News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a total of 23 states have medical marijuana programs, which take six to 18 months to set up and run. California was the first.
 
CYNTHIA TUCKER: Gun obsession infects college campuses
The Albany Herald
Currently, according to the website of the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states prohibit concealed weapons on college campuses. Twenty-three others allow college presidents or regents to make the decision. But it seems inevitable that campus-carry laws will spread.
 
Clinton pushes for more early voting, points finger at Florida election ...
Orlando Sun Times
The National Conference of State Legislatures, confirms that states like Florida, Iowa, Kentucky and Virginia permanently ban felons and ex-felons from voting. Virginia and Florida, however, have supplementary programs that facilitate gubernatorial pardons.

June 5

Hillary Clinton calls for sweeping expansion of voter access
Washington Post
About three dozen states and D.C. offer early voting of some kind, allowing voters to cast ballots before Election Day without an excuse. The average early voting period is roughly 22 days, the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures reported earlier this year.

Bashing GOP, Clinton calls for automatic voter registration
The Hill 
Critics hit back, pointing to the lack of early voting in Clinton's adopted home state of New York, one of 14 states without the option, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Clinton slams Republicans for trying to limit voting
CBS News
Thirty-three states and Washington, D.C. currently offer in-person early voting or allow voters to apply in person for an absentee ballot and cast that ballot in one trip to an election official's office, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Right-to-work proponents in Missouri Legislature face uphill battle in overriding Nixon's veto
STLtoday.com
If lawmakers can override the governor’s veto, Missouri would become the 26th state to let workers choose whether they have to join unions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Those states still have unions, but workers cannot be required to become members.

Senate tables proposal to decriminalize marijuana
Concord Monitor
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized marijuana, making possession of small amounts of pot an infraction or a low level misdemeanor as opposed to a state crime, according to the National Conference for State Legislatures.

Marengo Township residents push for action on contaminated water
Northwest Herald
Althoff attended a national conference for state legislators on Thursday, and was not immediately available for comment. She later communicated to her staff via text that she is in the initial stages of reaching out to vested parties to set up a meeting.
 
Louisiana's medical marijuana bill poised for Legislature's approval
WDSU New Orleans
Tennesee Gov. Bill Haslam signed a bill legalizing cannabis oil for some medical conditions on May 4, take a look at which state allow recreational and medical marijuana use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Governor vetoes bills involving photo traffic enforcement
Colorado Springs Gazette
Aurora, Boulder, Commerce City, Denver, Fort Collins, Greenwood Village, Littleton, Pueblo and Sheridan use traffic-enforcement cameras. Nationally, 10 states prohibit the use of photo radar or red-light camera enforcement, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Area legislators named to national committee 
Biddeford - Saco - OOB Courier 
National Conference of State Legislatures is an organization that serves the interests of state legislatures by providing states support, ideas, and connections for policy and effectiveness. It operates standing committees that educate Congress and federal agencies about state concerns and serve as forums for state legislators and legislative staff to learn about and share information regarding programs and initiatives in other states.
 
Kentucky Legislative Research Commission to Hire New Director 
WKMS 
Stivers had declined to start the search until a report detailing low morale in the state agency had been finalized. A draft of the report conducted by the National Council on State Legislatures was released in January. On Wednesday Stivers and Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo said they had sent a letter to the NCSL requesting the final report. In the letter, authored by Stivers and approved by Stumbo, the NCSL is asked to address “questions regarding the manner in which partisan and nonpartisan staff interacts under the LRC umbrella.”

Pictures meant to challenge notions of youth homelessness 
Business Insider 
About 1.3 million U.S. youths live in some stage of homelessness, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. About three quarters are female, and 20 to 40 percent are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning.

Terminally ill patients could have new options under Right to Try bill 
Dothan Eagle 
Alabama is one of at least 19 states that have approved some form of “right to try” legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Panel: Lawmakers need raise
Martinsville Bulletin
Virginia is just one of three states that don’t prohibit personal use of campaign funds, according to an analysis by state officials based on data supplied by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 4

To Quiet Calls for Fracking Curbs, Texas Bans Bans
Newsweek
The opposition to bans is just as great. In Texas alone, 11 bills were filed this legislative season to prevent fracking bans, while at least eight bills were introduced in Oklahoma, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. “Some of the proposed measures would allow for certain ordinances, such as those related to road use, traffic, noise or odor, but would prevent outright bans,” says Kristine Hartman, who tracks legislation, both for and against fracking, for the Washington-based organization.
 
Governor vetoes bills involving photo traffic enforcement
Washington Times
Ten cities in Colorado use traffic-enforcement cameras. Nationally, 10 states prohibit the use of photo radar or red-light camera enforcement, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

State legislators' per diem, mileage costs to taxpayers drop
Chicago Daily Herald
Seven states don't pay legislators a daily allowance, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Only six states have lower mileage reimbursement rates than Illinois, according to another NCSL study.

Pennsylvania is first state to announce ObamaCare subsidies backup plan
The Hill
Lawmakers in nearly a dozen states, including Ohio and Florida, are urging their governors to create a backup plan that involves setting up a state-based exchange, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Ohio passes ban on pure caffeine, powdered alcohol sales
The Idaho Statesman
At least 12 states have statutorily prohibited the sale of powdered alcohol, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Others have created temporary bans or sought to regulate it.

New state law for overdose drug could be a life-saver
Yakima Herald-Republic
Law enforcement officials and other proponents say the new law will save lives by making a life-saving treatment more accessible, a move 30 other states have made, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Ohio passes ban on pure caffeine, powdered alcohol sales
WLWT Cincinnati
At least 10 states have statutorily prohibited the sale of powdered alcohol, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Others have created temporary bans or sought to regulate it.

LRC finally launches search for new director
The Courier-Journal
Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said after a meeting of the 16 leaders who comprise the Legislative Research Commission that he recently asked the consultant group, the National Conference of State Legislatures, for further research that would be incorporated in a final report.

Kentucky lawmakers form panel to search for new director of troubled Legislative Research ...
Lexington Herald Leader
The LRC, which employs nearly 400 people, was described as a dysfunctional workplace in a report produced in April 2014 by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

LRC to conduct national search for director
Richmond Register
The LRC also engaged the National Conference of State Legislators to conduct a management study of the LRC. Its draft report found serious morale problems among the staff and the absence of formal hiring, compensation and staffing policies.

Medical pot expansion dies
Mason City Globe Gazette
Twenty-three states — including Illinois and Minnesota — have medical marijuana programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Missouri has a limited program.

N.J. man accused of killing pregnant wife looks to withdraw guilty plea
NJ.com
New Jersey is one of only 12 states where an unborn child is not recognized as a victim of a crime in the homicide of a pregnant woman, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The other 38 states have so-called "fetal homicide laws," the group states.

Lawmakers need a raise, governor’s ethics panel says
The Roanoke Times
Virginia is just one of three states that don’t prohibit personal use of campaign funds, according to an analysis by state officials based on data supplied by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Calif. Senate votes to raise smoking age from 18 to 21
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Since 2013, New York City has required tobacco purchasers to be 21 or older, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. No state has a smoking age that high, but Alabama, Alaska, Utah and New Jersey set it at 19.

Lessons from Dentists? Decision May Impact Self-regulated ...
WisBar
Other organizations representing the interests of self-regulated professions had similar concerns. In addition, the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures, in an amicus brief, noted that states use boards and commissions as state agents to carry out important regulatory state functions, with rules and standards of conduct to prohibit self-dealing by members who are market participants.

Anti-vaccine parents cluster in rich, white areas
Medical Xpress
In addition, 20 states permit personal-belief exemptions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Governor vetoes bills involving photo traffic enforcement
Loveland Reporter Herald
Ten cities in Colorado use traffic-enforcement cameras. Nationally, 10 states prohibit the use of photo radar or red-light camera enforcement, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 3

The Problem with Political Compromise
Governing 
“As it always does, it seems to come back to campaign finance and money,” says Tim Storey, who tracks leadership issues for the National Conference of State Legislatures. “These low-turnout elections can be hijacked, and that’s a constant concern for leaders.”
 
State legislators' per diem, mileage costs to taxpayers drop
Chicago Daily Herald
This year, Illinois ranks 32nd among the states for amount paid for legislative daily allowances, reports the National Conference of State Legislatures. In 2010, when Illinois' per diem was at its highest point of $139, Illinois ranked 14th in the nation.

Texas Lawmakers Approve Bill Allowing Guns on Campus
New York Times
Fewer than 10 states have provisions allowing the carrying of concealed weapons on public college campuses, including Colorado, Idaho and Utah, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. About 20 others ban concealed weapons on campus, including California, Florida and New York, and more than 20 others, including Alabama and Arizona, leave the decision to each college.

As Federal Aid Dwindles, States Strive to Integrate African Refugees
Stateline
But the eligibility period for that aid has waxed and waned over the years, shrinking from a high of 36 months to the current 8 months, shifting many of the costs to the states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And while every state but Wyoming (which has few refugees) has some sort of office for refugee resettlement, the aid states offer can vary dramatically, according to Ann Morse, program director for the NCSL’s Immigrant Policy Project.

Calif. Senate votes to raise smoking age to 21 from 18
The Union Leader
Since 2013, New York City has required tobacco purchasers to be 21 or older, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. No state has a smoking age that high, but Alabama, Alaska, Utah and New Jersey set it at 19. 

In-state tuition for immigrants called first victory for Dallas’ Latino Center for Leadership Development
Dallas Morning News
About 20 states now have similar laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

DeLission discusses possibility of legalizing medical marijuana at town hall meeting 
Montgomery Newspapers 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a total of 23 states have medical marijuana programs, which take six to 18 months to set up and run. California was the first.

Amazon.com begins collecting sales tax in Ohio 
The-review 
The National Conference of State Legislatures, citing a University of Tennessee study, estimated that Ohio lost nearly $308 million in uncollected sales taxes from online sales in 2012.
 
Governor signs bill that bans tanning for teens 
WMUR Manchester 
The National Conference of State Legislatures said a dozen other states ban tanning for people under 18.

Kitty Gurnsey, longtime moderate legislator from Boise's North End, dies 
The Idaho Statesman 
Gurnsey was an active member of the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Order of Women Legislators, and the Pacific Northwest Legislative Leadership Forum.

States pursue varied police reforms amid national debate 
Kingsport Times News 
Two states, North Carolina and Oregon, already require data collection for incidents involving deadly force, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Legislators in seven states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Virginia) have introduced legislation this year to address or expand data collection.

Vermont to launch same-day voter registration 
WPTZ The Champlain Valley 
Other New England states that allow same-day voter registration include New Hampshire, Connecticut and Maine, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
State CIOs get nudge on drone policies
Government Computer News 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 35 states considered UAS bills and resolutions last year; 10 states enacted new laws.

Bill to ban contingent-fee lobbying advances
Chadds Ford Live
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 43 states and the federal government currently prohibit contingent-fee lobbying. NCSL reports that “federal regulations governing contractors who lobby for government contracts specifically prohibit contingency fees on the grounds that they may induce lobbyists to exert ‘improper influence’ on public officials, in other words, inducing someone to act on any basis other than the merits of the matter,” the release said.
 
City officials uncertain about new open-container law
Sidney Daily News
States including Alabama, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado and Florida have statutes allowing public alcohol consumption in specified entertainment districts or other areas, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And many of those laws, like Ohio’s, are fairly recent.

June 2

Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, is expected to sign a bill allowing licensed gun owners to carry
U.S. News & World Report 
Only seven other states – Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin – widely permit concealed guns on campus, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Another 23 states allow colleges and universities to decide for themselves whether to allow guns on campus.
 
Stranger tries to shame breastfeeding woman with online post
AOL News
She's right. The National Conference of State Legislatures says 49 states, including Indiana where Kendall lives, "have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location."
 
Can Gov. Rauner Put Illinois Pension Funds in the Black?
National Legal and Policy Center
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), between 2009 and 2014, all 50 states and Puerto Rico enacted some type of pension reform. According to NCSL’s pension legislation database, 45 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico introduced pension legislation and approximately 1,223 bills so far in 2014; this compares with approximately 1,433 bills for the 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico in 2013.   

Senate votes to override McCrory marriage veto; House next
WTVD-TV
Utah is the only state that's approved a similar exemption, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Utah's governor signed that bill.

Hemp industry enters 2nd year with hazy market potential
Wisconsin Gazette
At least 22 states allow hemp cultivation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, though most are limited to experimental testing, not commercial industry. 
 
States Pursue Varied Police Reforms Amid National Debate 
Government Technology 
Two states, North Carolina and Oregon, already require data collection for incidents involving deadly force, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Legislators in seven states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Virginia) have introduced legislation this year to address or expand data collection.

Legislature considering tax credits for film industry 
Pamplin Media Group 
According to a 2014 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures, 39 states have tax incentives for film and video production, but others have dropped or scaled back their programs.
 
Vermont to Launch Same-Day Voter Registration 
NECN 
Other states that allow same-day voter registration include New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Maine, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 1

States declare war on powdered alcohol
Washington Examiner 
In 13 states, bills aimed at banning or regulating powdered alcohol passed only one chamber of the state's legislature. For instance, Ohio's House of Representatives passed three bills this year that would ban powdered alcohol. None of them have been taken up by the state Senate. More than half of the bills filed in state legislatures were never voted on, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures 

Want to get rich? Either Washington or Hollywood will do fine. Really rich? Go West
Washington Post
The average SAG member makes $52,000 a year while state lawmaker pay varies by state. In Virginia, senators make $18,000, while New Mexico pays nothing, Texas pays $7,200, and California pays $97,197, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Hemp Industry Enters 2nd Year With Hazy Market Potential
ABC News
At least 22 states allow hemp cultivation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, though most are limited to experimental testing, not commercial industry. 

Guns Heading to Texas Campuses After State Vote
Bloomberg
Since Utah in 2004 became the first state to allow guns on campus, seven have followed suit. Twenty ban concealed weapons from campuses, while 23 allow schools to make their own policies, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
More schools experiment with four-day school weeks, but do they help students?
Deseret News
Schools in 21 different states, including Arizona, Utah, Oregon and Wyoming, have schools that only operate four days a week, according to the National Council of State Legislators. These schools are typically found in small, rural communities that have fewer students enrolled.
 
Connecticut judges erasing pot convictions at high rate
Albany Times Union
Other states also have been considering allowing erasure after decriminalizing minor marijuana crimes. Lawmakers in at least six states are currently considering bills that deal with expungement, sealing or setting aside of certain marijuana convictions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Those states are Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington.
 
Maine, the way life should be?
Mount Desert Islander
In 2005, the Maine Legislature contracted with the National Conference of State Legislatures to evaluate “operations and practices” of the legislature. NCSL made 24 recommendations to create efficiencies and enhance the effectiveness of the legislative process. Most have gone the way of the dodo bird. Even the simplest of proposed changes has vanished in the mists of time. NCSL’s report stated: “The Maine Legislature spends too much time and too many resources on legislative sentiments.” Their recommendation was for a “citation or certificate … as the main instrument for expressing commendation, condolences, appreciation or congratulations.

McCrory to veto NC religious objection bill on gay marriage
Statesville Record & Landmark
Utah is the only other state that's approved a similar exemption, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Fact Check: Is Florida drug-testing welfare recipients?
Florida Times-Union
Even though the effort to drug test welfare recipients was halted in Florida, similar laws are on the books in other states. The National Conference of State Legislators reported in February that 12 states (including Florida) had passed legislation about drug screening welfare recipients.

Amazon to begin collecting sales tax for online purchases made by Ohioans
Stow Sentry
The National Conference of State Legislatures, citing a University of Tennessee study, estimated that Ohio lost nearly $308 million in uncollected sales taxes from online sales in 2012.  

Utah economist weighs in on minimum wage debate
KSL.com
Utah is among the 14 states with the lowest minimum wages in the nation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

State expands eligibility of undocumented students for in-statetuition
The CT Mirror
The shift makes Connecticut's threshold among the lowest in the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nonpartisan think tank that tracks state laws.
 
Rep. Green speaks on passage of bills
Georgetown News Democrat
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved the sale of Palcohol in the United States in March of this year. However, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 36 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, have all introduced legislation that addresses powdered alcohol in some way.

Our View: Voting moving to Internet, but exercising right remains priority
LubbockOnline.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, no fraud or security breaches have been reported, and there are measures taken to prevent fraud and hacking. A register must use a driver’s license or the last four digits of their Social Security number in order to sign up.

Analysis: Bryant lets suffrage bills stand without signature
Mississippi Business Journal
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, between 1996 and 2008, 28 states passed new laws on felon voting rights. Among those changes, seven states repealed lifetime disenfranchisement laws, at least for some ex-offenders while 12 states simplified the process for regaining voting rights, for instance, by eliminating a waiting period or streamlining the paperwork process.
 
Law enforcement has its eyes on you
Henrietta Post
But more states are working on regulations to govern the use of automatic license plate readers. Legislation on license plate readers is pending in 16 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. So far, 20 states have enacted laws that govern the use of unmanned aircraft, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. 

Analysis: Connecticut judges erase pot convictions at high rate
New Haven Register
Other states also have been considering allowing erasure after decriminalizing minor marijuana crimes. Lawmakers in at least six states are currently considering bills that deal with expungement, sealing or setting aside of certain marijuana convictions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Those states are Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington.

Hemp Enters Second Year of Hazy Potential
The Ledger
At least 22 states allow hemp cultivation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, though most are limited to experimental testing, not commercial industry.
 
Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission proposal to cap solar power ...
Tribune-Review
Forty-four states and Washington, D.C., allow people to sell excess electricity they produce to a utility, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.