NCSL in the News | June 2017

6/1/2017

June 30

Everthing’s in Danger’: Illinois Approaches 3rd Year Without Budget
The New York Times
Leaders in at least 11 states with fiscal years set to start on Saturday were still working on their budgets Thursday afternoon, the National Conference of State Legislatures said.
     
Sports betting advocates see momentum building
The Hill
Earlier this month, the AGA launched the American Sports Betting Coalition, which brings together supportive groups such as the Fraternal Order of Police, the National District Attorneys Association, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Tim Murphy, a former FBI deputy director, is also pushing for a repeal of PASPA.
     
State Budget Battles Show Few Signs of Letting Up
FOX Business
There are also 22 states where the government shuts down over a blown budget deadline, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Drone Bills Loom as Tension Between Industry, Localities Heats Up
Bloomberg BNA
Currently, four of the subcommittee’s roughly 70 represented organizations are local and state representatives, including the City of San Francisco, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Association of State Aviation Officials, and the National Association of Counties (NACO), a spokesperson said.

Only 5 St. Louis-area schools have a clear restroom policy for transgender students 
St. Louis Public Radio
Missouri was one of 16 Republican-controlled states that considered a so-called “bathroom bill” during the 2017 legislative session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Indiana likely to end up in courts over
Indy Star
For more than a decade groups, like the National Conference of State Legislatures have lobbied Congress for such a law — with little success. In 2013, the Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act, but the bill couldn’t get the support of the House.
 
Indiana gas tax going up 10 cents. Is Ohio next?
WCPO 
The National Conference of State Legislatures says the trend is not slowing down; states are not getting more road money from the federal government, and federal gas taxes have not increased since Bill Clinton was president.
     
Local lawyers sue Aurora to halt racetrack ballot question, citing single-subject issue
Aurora Sentinel 
Colorado is one of at least 15 states with a single subject rule on its books, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
What happened to the 90-day session?
Daily News-Miner
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that states “with no session limits are more likely to have late state budgets.

Court should settle Legislature’s pay issue
International Falls Journal
The National Conference of State Legislatures this month presented its Notable Documents Award to the council’s final report.

June 29

Gay marriage-recusal law survives federal court challenge
ABC News
Two other states — Utah and Mississippi — also have laws allowing public officials to recuse themselves from performing marriages because of religious beliefs, according to a tally by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Illinois Is in a $6 Billion Budget Hole and Flirting With Junk
Bloomberg Businessweek
Madigan’s standoff with Rauner counts as the longest budget impasse in U.S. history, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Despite President Trump’s tweet, Amazon already collects sales taxes
CNBC
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that states lost out on $23.3 billion in revenue in 2012 due to their inability to collect sales taxes from online purchases.

Silicon Valley, Not Willing to Wait, Foreges Ahead on Boosting Minimum Wage
FOX Business
Twenty-six states have local minimum-wage pre-emption laws on the books that block smaller jurisdictions from setting their own wages, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At least 10 states considered pre-emption laws this year.

Ohio lawmakers vote to freeze Medicaid expansion
New York Daily News
Ohio is among more than 20 U.S. states that have expanded Medicaid enrollment under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, largely with funding through federal dollars, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The minimum wage is going up in D.C., two states. How California’s compares
The Sacramento Bee
The District of Columbia pays minimum wage workers the most – $12.50 per hour, as of July 1, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Let's put Alaska's lawmakers on a real 90-day clock
Alaska Dispatch News
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that states "with no session limits are more likely to have late state budgets."

Pody appointed to national committee
Wilson Post
State Rep. Mark Pody has been appointed to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Labor and Economic Effectiveness Committee by Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives Beth Harwell.

An inside look at how the Koch brothers are flexing their political choice, ESAs
Canon City Daily Record
Five states currently offer the accounts as a school-choice option, according to the bipartisan Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures.

How Rep. Pete Lee is creating a “kinder, juster” criminal justice system in Colorado
Colorado Springs Independent
Lee, approaching his final session in Denver, isn't sure what his final bills will be. He chairs an Interim Committee on Comprehensive Sentencing Reform that can introduce up to five bills next year. And he's serving on a Juvenile Justice Working Group for the National Conference of State Legislatures, developing guiding principles for state policy.
 
Speaker Hoover selects representatives to examine state’s Infrastructure needs
Spectrum News
“That’s why they were chosen, and they will start meeting to try and understand the depth of the problem, to start meeting with interested stakeholders, looking at other states, maybe working with the National Conference of State Legislatures about different ideas that they may have, and try to come in December and share with the entire General Assembly, specifically the House, of some of their findings and some of their recommendations.”

June 28

Sunscreen Won’t Require a Doctor’s note at Louisiana Schools
U.S. News & World Report
The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least seven other states have adopted similar legislation in recent years. Louisiana's law takes effect Aug. 1.

The first federal laws for self-driving cars are starting to take shape
Business Insider
Because there are no set federal standards—just a voluntary set of safety rules hashed out during the Obama administration—22 states have imposed some form of regulation on self-driving cars within their borders, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Incentive Watch: Earned Income Tax Credits 101
Bloomberg BNA
In Illinois alone, close to 21 percent of families who qualify for the EITC fail to claim the credit on their return, leaving thousands of dollars on the table, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Voting systems need vote of confidence
Pocono Record
Folmer, at least, recognizes the urgency. And he was wise to invite county elections directors and representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of State and the National Conference of State Legislatures to spell out the challenges.

June 27

Yes to medical marijuana in Utah, no to smoking it: Here’s what Utahns may vote on in 2018
The Salt Lake Tribune
As of April, 29 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico have legalized medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, including three of Utah's border states — Arizona, Colorado and Nevada.

Excerpts from recent Minnesota editorials
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
That report may have been a winner with NCSL, but it hasn't won over the GOP majority in the Minnesota House. A spokeswoman for Speaker Kurt Daudt said last week that the House does not intend to do the council's bidding.

Omnibus budget ladened with more than money
Lincoln Times-News
The Education Commission of the States and the National Conference of State Legislatures, both scrupulously nonpartisan, have background analyses that we can find online.

Republican Senate Candidate To Lead Rural Healthcare Efforts
KGVO
Dr. and Montana State Senator Albert Olszewski of Whitefish was recently chosen to be Montana’s project leader to improve delivery of rural healthcare at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Symposium on Rural Healthcare Challenges in Denver.

June 26

Unanswered Questions Loom About New Mexico Ethics Commission
U.S. News & World Report
New Mexico is one of eight states without an ethics commission, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

How safe and sanitary is ‘body art’? Laws regulating tattoos piercing vary widely
Washington Post
At least 45 states (including Maryland, Virginia and the District) prohibit minors from getting tattoos, and 38 states prohibit body piercing and tattooing minors without parental permission, according to NCSL.

Only Congress can enable drone technology to reach its full potential
The Hill
This act has impressive bipartisan support. Leading the effort to pass it are Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). Organizations endorsing the bill include the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislators, the National Association of State Aviation Officials, the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
 
Court should settle Minnesota Legislature’s pay issue
Minneapolis Star Tribune
That's why this bit of national recognition caught our eye: The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) this month presented its Notable Documents Award to the council's final report.

California the over-regulator? Not for addiction treatment
The Orange County Register
The basic assumption underlying CON regulation is that excess capacity stemming from overbuilding of health care facilities results in health care price inflation,” said a review by National Conference of State Legislatures in 2016.

Higher ed takes biggest WV budget hit, but how much is too much?
West Virginia Metro News
“The quick overview is that higher education is sometimes referred to as the balancing wheel in state budgets in that it is the largest single program in state budgets that is not formula driven,” said Arturo Perez, fiscal affairs program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Weekly Scorecard
The Journal Gazette
"This is a direct assault on the very premise of a representative democracy, a complex, constitutional republic where citizens vote for the individuals who represent them.” – Utah state Sen. Curtis Bramble, a Republican and former president of the National Conference of State Legislatures, on federal legislation introduced by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wisconsin, that would prohibit states from collecting sales tax on online sales if the vendor isn't located in the state

High Court studies voting lines
The Advocate
As chair of the House & Governmental Affairs Committee, Danahay is leading Louisiana's delegation to the National Conference of State Legislatures annual conference in August that will include about a dozen seminars on reapportionment.

June 23

Arkansas Closer to Adopting Voter ID Law
U.S. News & World Report
Thirty-four states have laws requesting or requiring voters to show some form of identification, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Trump’s claim about the ‘catastrophe’ of Obamacare premiums increasing 204 percent in Alaska
Washington Post
State-by-state weighted average increases range from as low as single-digit increases to more than 100 percent. For 2017, the average increase in premiums before subsidies was 25 percent, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Georgia sees huge drop in people on food stamps
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Meanwhile, there's talk of extending the work requirements to food stamp recipients with children. Unterman, who is co-chair of the National Conference of State Legislators Hunger Partnership, says it's time for that.

Democrats Making the Most of Bad Election Numbers
FOX 15
As a whole, from the governors' mansion to state offices to Congress, Democrats are at some of their lowest levels in years. In state legislatures, Republicans hold a little less than 4,200 seats, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Lawmakers Call For Rare Summer Meeting To Address School Accountability Plan
Idaho Ed News
VanOrden said she has proactively kept herself in the loop on ESSA compliance efforts by working with the National Conference of State Legislatures

June 22

New York ends child marriage, raising age of consent from 14 to 18
CBS News
According to a 2016 report from the Tahirih Justice Center, a nonprofit that protects immigrant women and girls, and the National Conference of State Legislatures, North Carolina and Alaska also allow 14-year-olds to marry with parental and judicial consent.

Transgender bathroom laws in US schools
ABC10
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, North Carolina remains the only state to pass legislation, “Restricting access to multi user restrooms, locker rooms and other sex-segregated facilities based on a definition of sex or gender consistent with sex assigned at birth.

Wednesday round-up
SCOTUSblog
Lisa Soronen discusses the case at the National Conference of State Legislatures’ blog, noting that the “challengers propose a standard for determining the influence of partisan gerrymandering in the district-drawing process” that is based on ‘wasted votes’–votes in each district cast for a non-winning party’s candidate.”

Possible move to part-time legislature takes another step today
WLNS
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures lawmakers in part-time states, like Mississippi, have a base annual salary of $10,000.

Kentucky Lawmaker Proposes Limited Medical Marijuana Bill
WKMS
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 29 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws allowing marijuana to be prescribed as a medicine.

A look at Illinois’ budget mess as lawmakers head to Capitol
Canton Daily Ledger
Other states have consequences. In 22 states, failure to pass a budget will lead to a government shutdown, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Salt Lake Community College leads free tuition trend
Universe BYU
The America's College Promise program created a federally funded program coving three-fourths of the average community college tuition with the state covering the rest, according to the National Conference of State Legislature website.

Explosion in tattooing, piercing tests state regulators
North State Journal
At least 45 states prohibit minors from getting tattoos, and 38 states prohibit body piercing and tattooing minors without parental permission, according to NCSL.

States Should Take The Lead in Regulating Drone Deliveries
The Daily Caller
The legislation is also supported by the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislators, the National Association of State Aviation Officials, the National League of Cities, and the U.S.

June 21

States raising gas taxes to fund transportation improvements
Fox News
"There has been kind of a cyclical trend of every other year, the non-election years, being more common for these increases. But there are plenty of states that have increased in election years," said Kevin Pula with the National Conference of State Legislatures. "So we might see it next year or in 2019. But I don't anticipate this slowing down."

Cuomo Signs Bill Doing Away With Child Marriage in New York State
CBS New York
According to data from the Tahirih Justice Center, a nonprofit that protects immigrant women and girls, and the National Conference of State Legislatures, North Carolina and Alaska also allow 14-year-olds to marry with parental and judicial consent.

Can Renewables and Nuclear Co-Exist in Our Clean Energy Future?
Real Clear Energy
The NCSL addendum notes that two states—Illinois and New York—last year established policy mechanisms to compensate nuclear power plants for their carbon-free attributes.

States Adopting Aggressive Online Sales Tax Laws
Tax Foundation
The National Conference of State Legislatures released model legislation on marketplace platforms in January 2016.

Part-time lawmaker idea stirs talk of term limit reform
The Detroit News
Michigan would be the nation's largest state with both a part-time legislature and legislative term limits, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Distracted Driving fuels 'alarming' rise in auto accidents
Dallas News
Texting while driving is perhaps the best-known distraction and has been banned in 46 states and Washington, D.C., according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Casinos, States Winning Big From Online Gambling
Huntington Herald Dispatch
But Jackson Brainerd, who studies state gambling for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said while income from casino-sponsored online gambling has been robust, it has not lived up to predictions.

A look at Illinois’ budget mess as lawmakers head to Capitol
Palm Beach Post
In 22 states, failure to pass a budget will lead to a government shutdown, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

US Law for all states!
The Northwest Florida Daily News
Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Louisiana, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Tennessee have enacted laws prohibiting the use of foreign law in state courts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Funding formula committee resumes its long slog
Idaho EdNews
For much of the day, the 10-member committee heard from Daniel Thatcher, a national school finance expert with the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures.

Governor disputes Democrats’ allegation she’s ‘mismanaging’ budget
Radio Iowa
Reynolds said the state will have enough cash on hand to pay its bills and any income tax refunds. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Iowa is among 22 states that have struggled with slow tax revenue growth
 
Where every NJ lawmaker in DC stands on Trump plan to scrap property tax deduction
NJ.com
The proposal also is opposed by National Governors Association, United States Conference of Mayors, and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 20

Can You Find The Defibrillator At Work? Half of People Say No. 
NPR
Machines that once cost $3,000 now run under $1,000, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks the passage of laws related to AEDs.

Car Wrecks Rise as Phones Divert Drivers’ Eyes
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Texting while driving is perhaps the best-known distraction and has been banned in 46 states and Washington, D.C., according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Part-time lawmaker idea stirs talk of term limit reform
The Detroit News
Michigan would be the nation's largest state with both a part-time legislature and legislative term limits, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Car Wrecks Rise as Phones Divert Drivers’ Eyes
Palm Beach Post
Texting while driving is perhaps the best-known distraction and has been banned in 46 states and Washington, D.C., according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Calif. Pushes Internet Privacy Rules That Trump Repealed
The Recorder
Twenty other states this year are considering—or have already considered—some sort of response to the federal action, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Teen girl struck by gunfire in South Seattle
KOMO News
Opioids like heroin, fentanyl and oxycodone account for six of 10 drug overdose deaths in America, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.

Autonomous Cars One Step Closer to Reality in Colorado
JD Supra
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 18 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation related to autonomous vehicles. Four more states have addressed the issue through executive orders.

States enact rules on use of autonomous vehicles
Land Line Magazine
In 2016, 20 states considered legislation covering autonomous vehicles. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the total is up from six states in 2012.

Ryan Mackenzie’s bill on stroke care becomes law
Reading Eagle
Nationwide, 22 states allow at least some elections to be conducted by mail, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Three states - Oregon, Washington and Colorado - hold all elections by mail. California will begin offering all-mail elections next year.

A 5-part prescription for health care pain
Bankrate
But unsubsidized premiums for Obamacare health plans have gone up by an average 25 percent, which the National Conference of State Legislatures calls “shocking.”

June 19

Federal Bill Banning Online Sales Tax ‘Devious’: Utah Senator
Bloomberg BNA
“This is a direct assault on the very premise of a representative democracy, a complex, constitutional republic where citizens vote for the individuals who represent them,” Utah state Sen. Curtis Bramble (R), former president of the National Conference of State Legislatures, said during a June 15 meeting of the NCSL’s Executive Committee Task Force on State and Local Taxation in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Should 16- and 17- year olds be prosecuted as adults?
The Grand Haven Tribune
Since 1919, North Carolina has treated teens over 15 as adults in its courts system. Now, state legislators are looking to "raise the age" of juvenile courts to include 16- and 17-year-olds, just like in 44 other states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures website.

Sessions wants flexibility to prosecute state medical marijuana programs
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier
A total of 29 states have medical marijuana laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Officials hope to expand use of overdose-reversing drug
Seattle Pi
Opioids like heroin, fentanyl and oxycodone account for six of 10 drug overdose deaths in America, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.
 
Guam’s governor backs part-time legislature
Marianas Variety
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the average annual salary of a lawmaker in a fulltime legislature is $ $82,358.

June 16

Repatriation Could Complicate State Taxes for Apple, Exxon Mobil
Bloomberg BNA
“There is growing disbelief that tax reform will take place,” Max Behlke, director of budget and tax policy for the National Conference of State Legislatures, told Bloomberg BNA.

States Plan Meager Spending Increases in Next Year 
Fox Business
Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, New York and Oklahoma have all dealt with weaker-than-expected business taxes, NCSL said. Meantime, sluggish sales and individual income taxes have dogged Mississippi.

Ominous signs for states as revenue targets missed
The Hill
Twenty-two states reported addressing or planning to address mid-year budget shortfalls, according to another report issued by the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Beyond A Moment Of Silence
HuffPost
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Rifle Association, at least 11 states have passed laws allowing the concealed carry of guns without a permit within the last year. Sixteen additional states have introduced legislation in 2017 to do the same.  There is a perverse logic that permeates the public debate around guns; it is an assumption that more guns are the answer to too many guns. But history clearly shows a positive correlation between an increase in gun violence and more lenient gun laws.

While Legislature passed “sanctuary” bill, E-Verify enforcement fell short
Texas Tribune
The National Conference of State Legislatures ranks Texas in the middle on the enforcement scale when compared with other states in the country. That’s above dozens that have no E-Verify policy at all, and below the states that require the policy for all employers.

FYI: Senate big spender #4: John Whitemire
The Texas Monitor
The majority of the 26 trips were to attend various conferences hosted by such groups as the American Legislative Exchange Council, Southern Legislative Conference and National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Should 16- and 17-year olds be prosecuted as adults? 
Durham Herald Sun
Now, state legislators are looking to "raise the age" of juvenile courts to include 16- and 17-year-olds, just like in 44 other states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures website.

Gov. Bevin announces creation of Kentucky Work Matters Task Force
Floyd County Times
In fact, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 49 states, plus the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands, all have laws that specifically allow nursing mothers to breastfeed in any public or private location where mom and baby are both allowed. 

Pennsylvania moves to protect plastic bags from local governments
Allentown Morning Call
In 2014, California enacted a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags at large retail stores, according to the NCSL, the only state to do so.

Feds want to crack down on medical marijuana – just as local governments begin to embrace it. 
Tribune – Review 
Twenty-nine states have laws that allow patients to access medical marijuana and derivatives, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Corridor Ophthalmologist Files Federal Lawsuit to Perform Cataract Surgery
KGAN TV
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures 34 states currently maintain some form of CON program.

June 15

States Plan Meager Spending Increases in Next Year
Fox Business
Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, New York and Oklahoma have all dealt with weaker-than-expected business taxes, NCSL said. Meantime, sluggish sales and individual income taxes have dogged Mississippi. At least 11 states went into extended or special legislative sessions to hammer out the next budget, NCSL said.
"Caseloads and the need for government services continue to increase, and revenues are not keeping pace with demand," NCSL's report said.

Automakers want to test more self-driving cars on US roads
Bloomberg 
Eighteen U.S. states have passed autonomous-vehicle legislation in recent years, and more than 30 state houses have introduced self-driving car bills in 2017 alone, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Explosion in Tattooing, Piercing Tests State Regulators
Huffington Post
“The body art industry is much more nimble than the government,” said Doug Farquhar, who tracks body art legislation in the states as the director of environmental health for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

While Legislature passed "sanctuary" bill, E-Verify enforcement fell short
Texas Tribune
The National Conference of State Legislatures ranks Texas in the middle on the enforcement scale when compared with other states in the country. That’s above dozens that have no E-Verify policy at all, and below the states that require the policy for all employers.

June 14

NCSL OPPOSES NO REGULATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION ACT OF 2017
Opposition Letter
Letter to U.S. House Calls Proposal "Most Coercive, Intrusive and Pre-emptive Legislative Measure Ever Introduced in Congress"

There’s an indisputable perk to buying an electric car – here’s how…
Business Insider
The state situation is understandably more of a hodge-podge and includes rebates alongside the tax breaks, with Maryland offering the lowest of 37 states at $1,000 and Colorado the highest, at $6,000. They're summarized at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

With Online Sales Booming, States Truggle to Capture Sales Tax
The New Food Economy
Bills to tax remote sales were filed in at least 30 states this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. “It’s been hotly discussed,” said Max Behlke, director of state budget and tax policy at NCSL. 

Police drones and privacy rights
Batesville Herald Tribune
Indiana is among 18 states, according to a National Conference of State Legislatures report, in which a police department needs a warrant to use a drone, except in a few circumstances and in emergency situations.

Gov. Bevin Announces Creation of Kentucky Work Matters Task Force
WMKY
SEED is a collaborative effort with state intermediary organizations, including the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and The Council of State Governments (CSG), to help state leaders effectively address policy barriers that may hinder the employment of people with disabilities.

The Plastic Bag Tax Debate
PA Homepage
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only three states Arizona, Idaho, and Missouri have laws preventing local governments from regulating the sale or use of plastic bags, including the imposition of any fees.

State Rep. Meeks participates in solar workshop, lab
Log Cabin Democrat
Collaborating with fellow legislators from around the country, State Rep. Stephen Meeks (R-Greenbrier) spent two days at the Solar Workshop & Lab on June 9 – 10 in San Antonio. The Workshop is the second National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) solar energy meetings held in conjunction with the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO).

June 13

In Kansas, Missouri and across the country, the legislative sessions go on and on…
Kansas City Star
According to Jonathan Griffin, of the National Conference of State Legislatures, the average state legislature meets for about 120 calendar days. The number includes weekends, though legislatures rarely meet on weekends.

More RI communities banning plastic bags, but is paper alternative even worse?
The Providence Journal
Massachusetts is considering a statewide ban, as are New York and New Jersey, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

NH fetal homicide bill unintentionally gives pregnant women impunity to murder
Concord Monitor 
At least 38 states currently have fetal homicide laws, and 23 of those apply to the earliest stages of pregnancy, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Casino industry launches campaign to legalize sports betting
NJ.com
Led by the casino trade group, the coalition includes law enforcement officials and elected representatives. It lists the Fraternal Order of Police, National District Attorneys Association, Major County Sheriffs Association, U.S. Conference of Mayors and National Conference of State Legislatures as groups supporting its principles.

June 12

Dozens of US Cities Plan Marches Against Islam’s Sharia Law
TIME
Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Louisiana, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Tennessee have enacted laws prohibiting the use of foreign law in state courts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Concerns about part-time legislature
The Greenville Daily News
The National Conference of State Legislatures recently published a report showing there are actually five basic types of legislatures.

Woman crashes glass ceiling in New Mexico Legislature
Albuquerque Journal
The state has elected three women to Congress - but not a female U.S. senator. In the Legislature, women currently hold 30 percent of the seats - ahead of the 25 percent national average, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Time to shorten Oklahoma legislative sessions?
News OK
According to data compiled in 2010 by the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Alabama legislature convenes only 30 days in a 105 calendar-day period.

Texas Governor Calls For Special Legislation To Vote On ‘Bathroom Bill’
KRVS News
Well, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at the last count there are 11 states that still have pending bathroom bill legislation, among them Alabama, Kansas, Missouri, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Raising money while making laws in Texas special session
KGBT – TV 
Not all lawmakers go to conferences, but a lot of them go to the annual meetings of the National Conference of State Legislatures and the American Legislative Exchange Council.

June 9

Vos discusses roads with Trump
The Journal Times
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, meets White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus during the White House Infrastructure summit with President Donald Trump.

In Kansas, Missouri and across the country, the legislative sessions go on and on…
Kansas City Star
In North Carolina, legislative leaders refused the governor's call for a special session. Missouri state law requires regular sessions to end by May 30.

Raising money while making laws in Texas special session
Texas Tribune
The National Conference of State Legislators is in Boston this year. In August. During the special session. Road trip, anyone?

Vermont ranks 49th in ‘Rich States, Poor States’ report
Vermont Biz
This timeframe ensures that tax changes will impact a state’s ranking immediately enough to overcome any lags in the tax revenue data. ALEC and Laffer Associates calculations used raw data from state legislative fiscal notes, state budget offices, state revenue offices and other sources, including the National Conference of State Legislators.

ASU System raises tuition fees by 3.4%
Arkansas Online
This year, schools in Arkansas -- like those in most states -- have hovered around the 2 percent to 3 percent range, said Dustin Weeden, senior policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Policed drones and privacy rights
The News Sentinel
Indiana is among 18 states, according to a National Conference of State Legislatures report, in which a police department needs a warrant to use a drone, except in a few circumstances and in emergency situations.

June 8

Walker Says Progress Is Being Made on Wisconsin Budget
U.S. News & World Report
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who on Tuesday said he would negotiate the budget "any time, any place, anywhere," did not attend the Wednesday meeting in Walker's Capitol office. Vos was in Washington for a National Conference of State Legislatures meeting.

Hawaii Enacts Law Committing to Goals of Paris Climate Accord
U.S. News & World Report
Although Hawaii already has strong environmental rules, the new law is the first to directly refer to the standards of the Paris agreement, said Glen Andersen, who tracks energy and climate issues at the National Conference of State Legislatures

Arkansas Decides Process for Medical Marijuana Applications
U.S. News & World Report
Arkansas is one of 29 states that now allow for comprehensive public medical marijuana programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Special session conflicts with legislative conference
Houston Chronicle 
So, too, does it overlap the meeting of the Council of State Governments' conference in Biloxi, Miss., and the Aug. 6-9 convention of the National Conference of State Legislatures in Boston. 

Folmer searching for answers to elections system woes 
York Dispatch
Folmer, R-York, Dauphin and Lebanon counties, brought in a panel of county election directors and representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of State and the National Conference of State Legislatures to testify Tuesday before the Senate’s state government committee, which he chairs.
 
First woman takes leadership seat on New Mexico budget panel
Santa Fe New Mexican 
Overall, “it’s not on a parity with men,” said Katie Ziegler, a program manager at the National Conference of State Legislatures, which counts nearly 40 chairwomen currently at the top of major state budget and taxation committees.

Vermont Governor Defends Budget Veto
WAMC
Democratic House Speaker Mitzi Johnson is at a National Conference of State Legislators leadership conference this week. 

McCabe appointed to new committees
Goldendale Sentinel
The first of these is the National Conference of State Legislatures' (NCSL) Law, Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. McCabe said she's looking forward to hearing perspectives from other lawmakers as she attempts to work with state and local leaders on solutions to combat gang-involved and gang-related crimes in Yakima. 

The era of sales-tax-free online shopping is nearly over in Utah. Here’s how it ended.
Desert News
The differences between those two groups may have made sense in 1992 but no longer hold up today, as advancing software technology has made it ever easier to buy and sell — and equally easy to collect the correct sales tax, says Max Behlke, director of tax and budget policy for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Brown Co. police chiefs: Prepare for texting-while-driving bans
KTXS
Texas was one of four states without a general texting ban for driving, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Arizona, Missouri, and Montana are the other three states.
 
Highlights of the Pennsylvania House’s gambling legislation
Daily Journal
Four states — Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky and Michigan — allow online lottery play, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 7

First Women Takes Leadership Seat on New Mexico Budget Panel
U.S. News & World Report
Overall, "it's not on a parity with men," said Katie Ziegler, a program manager at the National Conference of State Legislatures, which counts nearly 40 chairwomen currently at the top of major state budget and taxation committees.

How Casinos, States Are Winning Big From Online Gambling
Huffington Post
But Jackson Brainerd, who studies state gambling for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said while income from casino-sponsored online gambling has been robust, it has not lived up to predictions. In New Jersey, for example, it was expected to generate $1.2 billion in the first year, resulting in $180 million for the state.   

Trumps signs measure naming new Nashville federal courthouse in honor of Fred Thompson
Chattanooga Times Free Press
Representative Cohen: “I was present when the National Conference of State Legislatures awarded him the Restoring the Balance Award for his dedication to federalism”. 

Penalties for pot possession are too severe
Baraboo News Republic
Twenty-nine states allow medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That's something else Wisconsin should do.

Louisiana students should get to carry sunscreen
The Advocate
The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least seven other states have adopted similar legislation in recent years.

Liability reform underway in Kentucky
The Floyd County Times
According to a 2014 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures, 17 states have enacted medical review panels. They will not, as fearmongers argue, prohibit lawsuits from going to trial. On the contrary, they will do even more to ensure justice is served in a timely manner.

Texting while driving will be illegal in Texas starting Sept. 1
Fort Worth Star Telegram
Texas is among four states — as well as Arizona, Missouri and Montana — that don’t have statewide bans on texting while driving, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 6

WV follows some state budget trends, bucks others
Charleston Gazette-Mail
The National Conference of State Legislatures published its report of state tax actions in 2016, reviewing revenue plans from all 50 states. It found the phasing-in of income tax reduction packages, coupled with increases in sales and use, health, tobacco, and motor-fuel taxes led to $2.3 billion in new revenue from all reporting states.

Online companies to charge sales tax by summer
wwlp.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, states have lost billions of dollars in uncollected taxes to purchases made online or via catalogs.

Brace yourself for this debate coming to Iowa
The Storm Lake Times
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 14 other states already have some type of drug screening as part of their public benefits programs.

Gov. Scott vetoes funding for marijuana research
WCTV TV
In Canada, a government-sanctioned medical marijuana grower has a full-time medical doctor on staff. WCTV reporters traveled to the grow house as part of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Right-To-Try, Biosimilar Substitution, Fail-First Policy Among New State Drug Policy Laws
Inside Health Policy
At least 33 states this year enacted 104 laws that affect prescription drug policy, according to an interim report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Common themes in the sample of new laws compiled by the National Conference on State Legislatures. 

June 5

State revenue rose $36M last month
Arkansas Online
Nearly half of the nation's states face budget shortfalls for the first time since the recession of 2008-09, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported.

Brasch selected for committees
Norfolk Daily News
Brasch has also been selected by the National Conference of State Legislatures to serve on the Communications, Financial Services and Interstate Committee and to the Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee.

NEO student part of women-in-government conference
The Joplin Globe
Just under a quarter of state legislators nationwide were women in 2015, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but the numbers were even lower in Oklahoma, where only 20 of 149 seats in the Legislature — equaling 13.4 percent — were held by women.

Governor, sign HB 62
Amarillo Globe-News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Texas is one of only four states without a statewide texting while driving ban.

Nearly 3 of 4 states join Trump’s fight to end sanctuary cities, illegal immigration 
The Washington Examiner
States, meanwhile, are looking mostly at restricting the ability of cities to become sanctuaries for illegals, even those with criminal records.

Illinois lawmakers may OK hemp for farmers
Grand Island Independent
The National Council of State Legislatures said at least 30 other states have laws related to industrial hemp. Proponents say the expansion could create jobs.

Part-time state legislature worth consideration
The Iron Mountain Daily News
In fact, the National Conference of State Legislatures lumps states into three categories: green, with full-time, well-paid large staffs; gray, which includes hybrids; and gold, with part-time small staffs receiving low pay.

Driverless cars set to take the roads much faster than anticipated as Colorado passes first law regulating the technology
Robotic & Automatic News
The National Conference of State Legislators says that each year, the number of states considering legislation related to autonomous vehicles has gradually increased.

June 2

States Press Senators on Medicaid Expansion Funds
Bloomberg BNA
“This is by far the biggest worry of states coming out of Washington,” Max Behlke, the National Conference of State Legislature’s director of budget and tax, told Bloomberg BNA. “We are very active on this issue right no.”

It’s official: Colorado passes first law to regulate driverless vehicles
The Denver Post
“In 2017, 33 states have considered autonomous-vehicle bills and seven states have enacted legislation,” said Amanda Essex, NCSL’s policy specialist on transportation.

During death penalty moratorium, mock executions
The Philadelphia Tribune
Capital punishment is authorized in 31 states, but only seven have carried out executions - 31 of them - since the start of 2016, according to Amber Widgery, a capital punishment policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Seven ways to solve Iowa’s tax problem
Des Moines Register
The National Council of State Legislatures estimated that Iowa lost more than  $180 million in sales and use tax revenue in 2012 to Internet sales. Internet commerce no longer needs special tax treatment to survive.

Nearly 3 of 4 states join Trump’s fight to end sanctuary cities, illegal immigration
The Washington Examiner
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of May 8, 2017, states were considering anti-sanctuary bills and four has passed such legislation during their 2017 legislative sessions, said the institute. 

Pot possession penalties are too harsh
Wisconsin State Journal
Twenty-nine states allow medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That’s something else Wisconsin should do. Scott Walker and the Republican-run Legislature moved in that direction this spring by legalizing an oil extracted from marijuana that’s used to treat seizur

Marijuana Bill Heads to Sunni
Valley News
Twenty-one states and Washington, D.C., have already decriminalized marijuana, making possession of small amounts of the drug an infraction or a low-level misdemeanor as opposed to a higher-level crime, according to the National Conference for State Legislatures.

Court Rules On What Happens To Facebook Profiles of Deceased Users
The Daily Caller
While some forms of the law are enacted in different states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are often significant roadblocks to accomplish the transfer because Internet services and websites have their own respective policies and terms-of-service agreements.

June 1

Trump ‘Self-Help’ Infrastructure Plan Irks State, Local Leaders
Bloomberg
“The devil’s going to be in the details, but so far, I don’t see how the numbers add up,’’ said Indiana Representative Ed Soliday, a Republican who helped lead the effort to increase the state gas tax this year and is co-chairman of a public-private partnership project for the National Conference of State Legislators.

Part vs. full-time Legislatures: Here’s how it works in other states
FOX 17 News
New Hampshire lawmakers are among the lowest paid at $100 a year while California legislators earn the most per year at more than $100,000, according to compensation information made available by NCSL. New Mexico doesn't pay lawmakers at all.

Fetal homicide legislation up for debate in House
Concord Monitor
At least 38 states currently have fetal homicide laws, and 23 of those apply to the earliest stages of pregnancy, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Sen. Thompson appointed to national committee on fiscal affairs and operations
Okemah News Leader
Earlier this year, Thompson was appointed to serve on the National Conference of State Legislatures Task Force on State and Local Taxation.

Mobile Stations
Food Service Magazine
Between 2000 and 2010, more than 45 sports stadiums were either built or renovated at an average cost of $412 million each, according to a study from NCSL (the National Conference of State Legislatures).