NCSL in the News | June 2018

6/1/2018

June 27

Only in New York: Where Primary Day Comes Twice a Year
New York Times
NCSL Information Cited.

Walgreens pharmacist denies woman miscarriage medication because it goes against his ethics
Washington Post
NCSL Information Cited.

Oklahoma voters approve medical marijuana measure 
CNN
Medical marijuana is legal in some form in 30 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nine states and Washington, DC allow for recreational sales. Federal law says marijuana is illegal, but a majority of states and the District of Columbia have passed laws legalizing or decriminalizing its use for medical reasons.

Vegan bakery owners find merchant cash loans can be anything but sweet
Daily Republic
Five states and Washington D.C. outright ban them, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.

States with voter ID laws have seen 'zero decrease' in turnout, NC Republican says
WTVD-TV
Seven states - Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin - have what the National Conference of State Legislatures refers to as "strict photo ID" requirements.

June 26

Only in New York: Where Primary Day Comes Twice a Year 
New York Times
A survey of Ballotpedia, the Green Papers and the National Conference of State Legislatures — organizations that track election dates — revealed that New York is alone in holding separate congressional and state primaries this year. But at least a few other states occasionally split their primaries as well. In recent years, for example, both California and North Carolina have held separate primaries.

Walgreens pharmacist denies woman miscarriage medication because it goes against his ethics 
Washington Post
NCSL Information Cited.

FDA Approves First Drug Derived From Marijuana Plant 
Wall Street Journal
The FDA action follows rising interest in medical uses for marijuana. Since the 1990s, some 30 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical use of marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In addition, some states have specifically legalized the medical use or clinical testing of cannabidiol. But the products sold under these laws haven’t previously received FDA approval. 

Unions give big to block ‘right to work’ in expensive Missouri ballot initiative race
Kansas City Star
More than half of the states have adopted right to work laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

States unequal winners in online-tax ruling
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
"The South Dakota model is a safe bet for states, so it's reasonable for them to start there" said Max Behlke, who directs budget and tax issues at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Proposal to shrink Pennsylvania’s general assembly falters before final vote
Tribune-Review
The state General Assembly is the nation's second-largest after New Hampshire's, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

How Voting Laws Have Changed Since 2016
Pro Publica
State legislatures have enacted more than 500 pieces of legislation related to voting since the 2016 election, according to data collected by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 25

Supreme Court delivers
Politico
Some business groups indicated that the court decision was enough for their members, including the Retail Industry Leaders Association. Similar reaction emerged from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Thief electrocuted while attempting to steal copper wire from light pole
CBS News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, copper theft in Oklahoma is a felony for both thieves and recipients who knowingly purchase stolen materials, with one to five year prison sentences and $100 to $500 fines.

Rhode Island latest state to try and fail to force Trump to release his tax returns
CNN
However, none have so far succeeded in turning their bills into law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Ohio House passes bill to promote cursive instruction in early education
Washington Examiner
There are currently eight states that require or encourage cursive to be taught in their schools, according to research from the National Conference of State Legislatures: Arkansas, California, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

SQ788 opponents cite language of measure rather than decry medical marijuana itself
Tulsa World
Karmen Hanson, a state cannabis program expert with the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, said Oklahoma would definitely be distinguishing itself in having a program that does not specify qualifying medical conditions.

Final session for 90-year-old state lawmaker
The Fresno Bee
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Larkin and Wisconsin state Sen. Fred Risser, 91, are believed to be the last WWII veterans still serving in a state legislature.

America appears ready to open the door for the ‘grain buffalo’
The Spokane Review
Since that time, the National Conference of State Legislatures says, at least 35 states have passed some sort of hemp-related legislation. That includes Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Montana.

Bay State budget running late
Lowell Sun
Forty-six states will begin fiscal year 2019 on July 1, 2018, while New York began its fiscal year on April 1, Texas begins its fiscal year on Sept. 1 and Alabama and Michigan begin theirs on Oct. 1, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

HOUSE HEARING EXPLORES OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING 
Associations Now
Albert Downs, a policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said the number of licensed professionals in the U.S. has ballooned to one in four workers.

Cynthia Nixon Made the Case for Abolishing ICE
Teen Vogue
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 12 states and the District of Columbia currently offer driver licenses for undocumented immigrants.

June 22

States claim big win in Supreme Court decision on sales tax
The Hill
“I’m ecstatic, absolutely. I don’t think I could have wished for a better outcome,” said Deb Peters (R), a South Dakota state senator and the president of NCSL, who initially sponsored the law upheld by the high court.

States stand to pocket billions as Supreme Court rules internet businesses must collect sales taxes
Los Angeles Times
The National Conference of State Legislatures called the ruling “a victory for main street America. Brick and mortar stores will no longer be penalized for collecting the tax revenues that fund our schools, infrastructure, and the vital public services that state and local governments provide,” said South Dakota state Sen. Deb Peters, the group’s president.

Wayfair Decision May Spur Congress Act 
Tax Notes
“South Dakota Sen. Deb Peters (R), who championed the state law at the center of the Wayfair case and serves as president of the National Conference of State Legislatures, called the decision “a victory.”
“For states, today is just the beginning,” Peters said. “We’ve waited 26 years. Good tax administration is good public policy, and state officials look forward to working with all stakeholders in the coming months as we move forward to level the playing field for all of our nation’s retailers.”

SCOTUS Rules In Favor Of South Dakota Sales Tax Law
SDPB Radio
State Senator Deb Peters was instrumental in crafting a bill that eventually got challenged all the way to the country’s highest court. “What the federal tax administrators are going to do, and the National Conference of State Legislatures are going to do is we’re going to work putting together best practices, along with the streamlines sales tax governing board, put together best practices and try to get it so all 50 states are following the same type of rules and guidance so we don’t mess this up. Because the last thing we want is for congress to come in and mess this up again.”

Supreme Court Kills Quill, Gives States More Authority To Collect Sales Tax
Forbes
Even before the decision, Max Behlke, director of budget and tax at the National Conference of State Legislatures, referred to Wayfair as the “tax case of the millennium.”
 
WHY ONLINE SHOPPING MAY BE ABOUT TO GET MORE EXPENSIVE THANKS TO THE SUPREME COURT
Newsweek
The Supreme Court of the United States ruled Thursday that online retailers can add state tax to their sales, even if they do not have a physical location in that state. In what has been called the “tax case of the millennium” by the National Conference of State Legislatures, South Dakota sued Wayfair, an online furniture retailer, because the shop omitted state sales tax from its orders.

Supreme Court Rules States Can Require Online Merchants to Collect Sales Tax
The Wall Street Journal
“We are now really comfortable with Congress continuing its path of not acting on this issue,” said Max Behlke, director of budget and tax policy for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Shoppers may have to pay billions in sales tax when buying online
USA Today
"People aren’t paying the taxes they're supposed to,'' says Max Behlke, budget and tax director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "Now we have a mechanism ... to require out of state retailers to collect those taxes that are already owed.''

U.S. states set to gain billions in sales taxes after court ruling
Reuters
Even so, most states may look to pass bills similar to Washington state’s, said Max Behlke of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Online Sales Tax Rule Dead, But Afterlife Murky
Bloomberg BNA
"This is obviously huge and validates that physical presence is not a sound standard in the 21st century economy" Max Behlke, director of budget and tax for the National Conference of State Legislatures, told Bloomberg Tax.

Friday Round-Up
SCOTUSblog
Additional commentary comes from Lisa Soronen at the National Conference of State Legislatures Blog.

States with voter ID laws have seen 'zero decrease' in turnout, NC Republican says
PolitiFact
Seven states — Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin — have what the National Conference of State Legislatures refers to as "strict photo ID" requirements.

Congress considers new hope for hemp
Capital Press
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 35 states have already passed industrial hemp statutes.

Baker files $5B bill to keep government running in July
Lowell Sun
Forty-six states will begin fiscal year 2019 on July 1, 2018, while New York began its fiscal year on April 1, Texas begins its fiscal year on Sept. 1 and Alabama and Michigan begin theirs on Oct. 1, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Lawmakers approve minimum wage hike, sales tax holiday bill
WCVB Boston
California, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island also mandate paid family leave, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 21

Ballinger named to national child welfare initiative
Cherokee Tribune & Ledger News
State Rep. Mandi Ballinger, R-Canton is one of 25 legislators selected for the National Conference of State Legislatures inaugural Child Welfare Fellows Program.

Study Finds Disturbing Trends in Vaccination Exemptions
AAFP News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures,(www.ncsl.org) 47 states have provisions that allow parents to exempt their children from receiving a vaccine if it contradicts their religious beliefs, and 18 states permit philosophical exemptions based on moral, personal or other beliefs.

Oklahoma's medical marijuana proposal borrows from other states' existing policies, but opponents cite that as cause for concern
Tulsa World
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 30 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico now allow for comprehensive public medical marijuana and cannabis programs.

Mass. Legislators Strike Deal With Bill On Family Leave, Sales Tax Holiday And $15 Minimum Wag
WBUR
If approved, Massachusetts would become the fifth state after California, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island to mandate paid family leave, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 20

Teachers and guns: Inside a firearm training where educators learn to take down shooters
NBC News
Before the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, 18 states allowed adults to carry weapons on school grounds with the permission of the principal or school board, while dozens of districts allowed teachers to be armed, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

No Election-Year Lull for State Lawmakers on K-12 Issues
Education Week
"The big surprise this year was teacher compensation and school safety legislation," said Daniel Thatcher, who analyzes K-12 legislation for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "Both became focal points this year for legislatures across the country." To date, all but 14 state legislative sessions have wrapped up business in a year when all but Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, and Texas were in session.

Inside the divisive movement to arm America's teachers
NBC 2 News
As of last week, at least 17 bills related to arming school staff had been proposed in 10 states over the past four months, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Voter ID easily in mainstream
The Robesonian
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, one of the first locations to enact legislation with a fee against bags was Washington, D.C.
 
How one metro Phoenix city may crack down on cellphone use while driving
AZ Central
Arizona is one of just three states — Missouri and Montana are the others — in which texting and driving remain legal for all or some drivers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

What We Don't Know About State Spending on Natural Disasters Could Cost Us
Pew Trusts
NCSL resources cited [Footnote 16]

Disrespect, Incivility Can be 'Gateway' to Sexual Harassment
SHRM
SHRM is working with the National Conference of State Legislatures to provide training to lawmakers and staff on workplace harassment and resolution.

How Pet Parents Can Use Less Plastic
Parade
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, one of the first locations to enact legislation with a fee against bags was Washington, D.C. 

June 19

The Supreme Court just raised the stakes in 2018 even higher for Democrats
CNN
Currently, Republicans have total control -- governor's mansion and both chambers of the state legislature -- in 25 of the 50 states, according to statistics maintained by the National Conference of State Legislators.

Oklahoma's medical marijuana proposal borrows from other states' existing policies, but opponents cite that as cause for concern
Tulsa World
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 30 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico now allow for comprehensive public medical marijuana and cannabis programs.

Investigation of lawmaker's alleged harassment exposes gaps in policy governing S.C. House members, experts say
Charleston City Paper
The National Conference of State Legislatures, a non-profit group that works to "improve the quality and effectiveness of state legislatures," offers no recommendations on how legislatures should conduct sexual harassment investigations aside from a bulleted list on its website pointing to the "possibility of involving parties outside the legislature."

Here's what to know about Tennessee Hemp Supply, Murfreesboro's newest dispensary
Daily News Journal
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 35 states have passed legislation regarding industrial hemp.
 
 New Federal Bill Would Protect States’ Experiments with Legal Marijuana
The Chronicle
The legislation is backed not only by the usual suspects, such as the ACLU, Drug Policy Alliance, Marijuana Policy Project, National Cannabis Industry Association, and NORML, but also by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 18

US intelligence officials say Russia will be back to try to undermine the 2018 elections. But here's why Americans shouldn't be so worried.
San Francisco Chronicle
Rhode Island, Virginia, Iowa, Washington, and Mississippi have also passed legislation requiring some variation of risk-limiting audits or an enhanced recording of votes, according to data collected by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Immigration And Refugee Task Force Addresses Driving Without A License
Wisconsin Public Radio News
Twelve states offer drivers licenses to "unauthorized immigrants," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Oklahoma's medical marijuana proposal borrows from other states' existing policies, but opponents cite that as cause for concern
Tulsa World
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 30 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico now allow for comprehensive public medical marijuana and cannabis programs.

Teachers' group seeks to stop Oklahoma anti-tax question
Midland Reporter-Telegraph
Oklahoma is one of 24 states with procedures for a popular referendum, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Louisiana patients could get more medication cost details
The Edwardsville Intelligencer
Louisiana is one of more than 20 states to prohibit the restrictions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Vermont Debates Net Neutrality
Valley News
Vermont is one of three states that have passed legislation to preserve net neutrality in some form, according to the National Council of State Legislatures 

June 15

Increase in minimum wage long overdue
Sunbury Daily Item
Data from the National Conference of State Legislatures, notes Pennsylvania’s current rate is equal to a dozen other states: Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. Only two — Georgia and Wyoming, at $5.15 per hour — are lower. 

Looking to the future
Greenfield Reporter
Indiana is one of 25 states that offers some sort of extension to foster care that can help ease at-risk youth into adulthood, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

School bus cameras proposed
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
New York would join at least 15 other states that have stop-arm camera laws, should Albany give the measure its green light, according to the National Council of State Legislatures.

Latest election tallies show high voter turnout
Calaveras Enterprise
Oregon, Washington and Colorado have already utilized an all-mail system, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures website.

Popularity of four-day school week is growing
WCNC
An estimated 560 districts in 25 states now allow at least some of their schools to switch to a Monday through Thursday schedule, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.

June 14

Wolf calls on Pennsylvania Legislature to raise minimum wage
Tribune Review
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures , among states with minimum wages, Pennsylvania's minimum wage matches 12 states — Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.
 
Primary election in Eddy County: second lowest voter turnout in state
Carlsbad Current Argus
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, New Mexico is one of nine closed primary states. Those other states are Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Oregon and Pennsylvania. 
 
'Does shoplifting mean a death sentence?' NAACP to investigate fatal Deptford strip mall shooting
The Inquirer
Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia have police body camera laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The South Carolina Republican Party is looking for a way to make its candidates even more conservative
Vox
There’s a whole spectrum of possible primary setups, and South Carolina is one of 15 states that currently has a completely open primary, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Washington’s second hemp year off to slow start
Capital Press
Washington is one of 35 states that have authorized state-supervised hemp farming, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Wyden-Merkley hemp legalization advances in Farm Bill
KTVZ
The Hemp Farming Act has the support of the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union, Vote Hemp, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 13

#MeToo Has 'Tripled' Web Traffic For The Federal Agency That Investigates Harassment
TIME
According to Suzanne Hultin of the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 20 states introduced legislation on workplace sexual harassment in 2018 and 16 of those states would limit or ban the use of non-disclosure agreements and/or forced arbitration under their proposals.

Repeal of Net neutrality rules take effect
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
NCSL Cited Information

Would mail-in ballots work in Wyoming? County clerks drafting bill for lawmakers
Wyoming Business Report
NCSL Cited Information

June 12

Companies in Limbo as States Adjust Taxes to Federal Overhaul
The Wall Street Journal
Max Behlke, director of budget and tax policy for the National Conference of State Legislatures said confusion was widespread. “We were getting calls from states asking how is this going to impact us and understanding that is a state-by-state endeavor.”
 
Net Neutrality Is Officially Dead. Here's How the Changes Could Affect You, According to Experts
Money Magazine
Meanwhile, at least 29 states have pending legislation that would require ISPs to uphold net neutrality rules, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In Montana and New York, governors signed executive orders that uphold the Obama-era net neutrality regulations.

Replacing York County's outdated voting machines: Looming deadline, big bill
York Dispatch
A single voting machine per the requirement of Wolf's mandate would cost roughly $3,000, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

What $42,865 a day gets you at the Legislature
The Nola Times-Picayne
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures Louisiana lawmakers receive $164 per day and get 54 cents per mile for one round trip from their homes to the State Capitol each week.

Pennsylvania, other states grapple with paid leave
The Daily Item
Washington, D.C., enacted a paid family leave measure last year that is scheduled to take effect in July 2020, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Net neutrality is dead, but it could make a comeback
Digital Trends
The majority are still pending, so if you live in any of the states listed on the National Conference of State Legislator’s website, your state may end up retaining net neutrality at the local level.

Four ways to survive the end of net neutrality today
Fast Company
The National Conference of State Legislatures maintains a list of net neutrality legislation passed or in progress, as well as ISP privacy legislation (Minnesota and Nevada already have such laws).

June 11

Some States Taking Electoral Maps Out of Politicians' Hands
U.S. News & World Report
In addition to Ohio and Arizona, the others include Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Extended Foster Care Helps Los Angeles Youth
U.S. News & World Report
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 25 states currently have extended foster care.
 
North Carolina Republicans Renew Push For Voter ID Requirement
HuffPost
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 34 states have some form of identification requirement. North Carolina is currently one of the 16 that does not.

Justin Nelson tags Ken Paxton, Texas attorney general, as nation's sole indicted statewide official
PolitiFact
We also reached out to the Associated Press, Governing magazine, the Almanac of American Politics and entities including the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments, the Center for Public Integrity, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the Institute for Corruption Studies at Illinois State University.

Wyoming county clerks draft mail-in ballots bill for Legislature
Wyoming Tribune
Oregon, Washington and Colorado conduct all elections by mail, according to National Conference of State Legislatures.

Military retirees like state
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
WalletHub assigned weighted scores on various criteria in retirement categories, using data from sources ranging from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and Census Bureau to the National Conference of State Legislatures and its own research.
 
These 10 Connecticut Women Want A Seat In The House
Hartford Courant
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about 1,843 women currently serve in the 50 state legislatures. Women make up 25.4 percent of all state legislators nationwide.

Why is a citizens commission to fix gerrymandering unlikely to work for Texas?
Corpus Christi Caller-Times
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, states including Arizona and California have created independent commissions, while other states have banned partisan gerrymandering in their state constitutions.

Some US states take initiative to eliminate partisan gerrymandering
The Christian Science  Monitor
In addition to Ohio and Arizona, the others include Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington State, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
STUDY: IDAHO MOST TOLERANT FOR GUNS IN SCHOOLS
Idaho Ed News
Thomsen also pointed to two other similarly focused studies: one from the National Conference of State Legislators, which largely corroborated the ECS report; and another from the Giffords Law Center, which placed Idaho among states prohibiting guns in k-12 schools, with some “specified exceptions.”
 
Sen. Warren Rolls Out Bill To Ensure States Can Enforce Own Marijuana Laws
WBUR
The National Conference of State Legislatures came out in support of the Warren/Gardner bill on Thursday. "This federal framework provides states with the tools necessary to build effective, state-specific policies and regulations ensuring public safety and economic growth. NCSL continues to support states’ sovereignty, respectively, to determine the best legislative path forward, free of preemption and federal overreach," NCSL Executive Director William Pound said.

June 7

Voting rights groups say a citizens commission could fix gerrymandering. It's unlikely to happen.
Texas Tribune
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, states including Arizona and California have created independent commissions, while other states have banned partisan gerrymandering in their state constitutions.

Gov. Cuomo proposes bill to help teachers block students’ gun access
Newsday
At least six states — Rhode Island, Florida, Vermont, Delaware, Maryland and Vermont — have some form of “red-flag law,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, with dozens more states considering similar proposals.

Finishing SALT: May Wrap-Up and June Highlights
JD Supra
Stephen Kranz is speaking at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Executive Committee Task Force on State and Local Taxation, Lake Tahoe NV, regarding federal tax reform and next steps on the remote sales tax.

Why Women Lack Power In Hawaii’s Legislature
Honolulu Civil Beat
Still, Hawaii’s women’s caucus has been more active and successful than those in other states, said Katie Ziegler, who heads the Women’s Legislative Network at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

School bus safety; NTSB seat belt ruling sparks national debate
The Marietta Times
Eight states already require some kind of seatbelts on larger school buses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 6

Shhh! Many Pharmacists Are Legally Banned From Telling Patients This
Governing
Legislators were motivated to act on the issue “because it affects the ordinary consumer,” said Richard Cauchi, the health program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

School bus safety; NTSB seat belt ruling sparks national debate
Marietta Times
Eight states already require some kind of seatbelts on larger school buses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Ohio is not one of those and transportation representatives from area schools agree that each safety situation is different. Most local school buses do not have seatbelts.

Groups that pushed or fought initiatives agree: Utah ballot laws need reform. But they’re at odds, again, over what to change
Salt Lake Tribune
This requirement is among the toughest in the 24 states that allow initiatives by petition, according to data collected by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Are voting centers a good idea for Florida? Some election officials say yes.
Miami Herald
Thirteen states use vote centers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

New York City looks to join plastic straw ban train
Washington Examiner
Some states, such as California, are considering similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Ruling for anti-gay baker and 1968 Piggie Park case both weighed religious freedom to discriminate with different results
Charleston City Paper
South Carolina also does not have a public accommodations law protecting LGBT people, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Medical Marijuana May Impact Some Doctors' Approach to Care
Reno Gazette Journal
Thirty states have legalized public medical marijuana and cannabis programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, or NCSL, which was formed in 1975. Guam, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. also have programs in place, the NCSL reports.

Lawmakers pitch package boosting sex harassment protections
Albany Times Union
Six states have passed versions of that law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Recreational marijuana, hemp and more in the works from backers of failed Ohio legalization ballot measure
Cleveland.Com
All of Ohio's neighboring states allow hemp production for commercial sale or research, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Beaumont Enterprise
Report: An estimated 4.3 million Texan workers don’t have access to paid sick leave
But at least 10 states and Washington D.C. have such a policy on the books, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

June 5

There Might Be a Cheaper Drug, But Pharmacists Can’t Tell You That
Pew Trusts
Legislators were motivated to act on the issue “because it affects the ordinary consumer,” said Richard Cauchi, the health program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

New York City looks to join plastic straw ban train
Washington Examiner
The Big Apple joins Seattle and a smattering of smaller cities in banning plastic straws. Some states, such as California, are considering similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Slowly but steadily, the travel industry cuts its ties to disposable plastics
Atlanta Journal Constitution
For other actions around the country, consult the State Plastic and Paper Bag Legislation list assembled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Vote centers: The next big thing in Florida elections?
Tampa Bay Times
Thirteen states use vote centers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Analyzing state and federal drug legislation
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
All but 11 states have statutorily-authorized specialty courts, diversion programs, or both, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 4

Helmets save lives so why don’t all states require them?
Washington Post
The National Conference of State Legislatures says that in states lacking a mandatory helmet law, 58 percent of motorcyclists killed in 2015 weren’t wearing helmets, compared to 8 percent in states with such laws. 

What states see after Supreme Court ruling on online sales taxes.
The Bond Buyer
“There’s this idea that there will be chaos out there after a decision, but we don’t think so,” Max Behlke, director of budget and tax policy for the National Conference of State Legislatures, told reporters during a briefing on Friday.

Lawmakers Slow to Tax Legal Sports Betting: Must 'Get This Right'
Bloomberg BNA
Ethan Wilson, policy director of commerce and financial services with the National Conference of State Legislatures, told Bloomberg Tax that bettors must be patient when it comes to considerable legislative matters like sports betting.

Supreme Court needs to recognize 21st century marketplace
The Hill - BY SENS. MIKE ENZI (R-WYO.), DICK DURBIN (D-ILL.), LAMAR ALEXANDER (R-TENN.) AND HEIDI HEITKAMP (D-N.D.), OPINION CONTRIBUTORS 
It is estimated that, as of 2015, total uncollected state sales and use taxes amounted to almost $26 billion annually, according to a joint study by the National Conference of State Legislatures and the International Council of Shopping Centers. 

Alabama will allow school administrators to be armed
CNN
In the months since the school shooting in Parkland, several states have proposed bills or resolutions related to arming school personnel, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Groups That Pushed or Fought Initiatives Agree Utah Ballot Laws Need Reform But They're At Odds
The Salt Lake Tribune
This requirement is among the toughest in the 24 states that allow initiatives by petition, according to data collected by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Proposed casino fees seen as a big gamble for Pa. 
The Philadelphia Tribune
“It’s a complicated issue, and no two states are the same,” said Ethan Wilson, a policy director for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Arming administrators in Alabama schools: what you need to know
AL.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 18 states have a state-level law allowing anyone with permission from the school authority to carry a gun on a school campus: Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Vermont.

Are You Ready For Hands-Free In Georgia?
Valdosta Today
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures website, the prevalence of cellular phones has started many debates related to the role cell phones play in driver distraction

June 1

Betsy DeVos's School-Safety Panel Hits the Road—and Meets Criticism
Wall Street Journal
Following the Parkland shooting in February, Republican legislators introduced 25 bills in 14 states to arm teachers and other school employees, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures. The only one to pass was in Florida, where the shooting occurred, and it allowed public school employees, not teachers, to carry arms.

Louisiana Toughens Laws Against Hazing After Student's Death
U.S. News & World Report
With the governor's signature, Louisiana joined at least 11 other states that have made hazing a felony when it ends in death or serious injury, according to The National Conference of State Legislatures. Hazing deaths at other universities have also led to criminal charges in states including Florida and Pennsylvania.

Phil Murphy reinstates Obamacare mandate for '19
Asbury Park Press
Some states are already bracing for big hikes, according to a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

State OKs first sports betting steps
Altoona Mirror
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that more than $150 billion is wagered illegally on sporting events in the United States each year.

State Policies to Address Prescription Drug Prices
Center for American Progress
Under the law, the attorney general would have the authority to sue drug manufacturers who raise the prices of qualifying generic drugs to “unconscionable” levels. [Cited by Richard Cauchi, “Recent Approaches in State Prescription Drug Laws” (Washington: National Conference of State Legislatures, 2018)]

RESEARCH & COMMENTARY: MARYLAND SHOULD CONSIDER REPEALING CERTIFICATE OF NEED LAWS
The Heartland Institute
The National Conference of State Legislatures outlines the various state CON laws and the positions of CON law proponents and critics.

A Post-Memorial Day Status Report
Rasmussen Reports
Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures noted some of the chambers in play for the Crystal Ball earlier this year.