NCSL in the News | June 2019

6/1/2019

June 28

A pregnant woman was shot in the stomach. She was charged in her baby's death.
Washington Post
Alabama is among 38 states with laws that classify fetuses as victims in homicide or assault, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In Alabama, a “person” includes unborn children in any stage of development.

Alabama Woman Who Lost Pregnancy in Shooting Is Charged in Fetus's Death
The New York Times
Alabama is among 38 states that have fetal homicide laws recognizing the fetus as a victim in cases of violence against a pregnant woman, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The law underpins the debate over abortion in that Alabama recognizes a fetus at any stage of development as a “person” for criminal homicide or assaults, with an exception for abortion. An Alabama Supreme Court justice challenged that exception in a recent opinion.

Study Recommends Larger State Investment Into Prison Education
Inside Higher Ed
A study from the National Conference of State Legislatures concluded investing in prison postsecondary education has benefits to reduce recidivism, thus benefiting a state's workforce and economy. The study cites the fact that, although overall unemployment is low, unemployment numbers for formerly incarcerated individuals is at 27 percent and that by 2020 an estimated two-thirds of all jobs will require postsecondary education in some form.

Steve King, Siouxland Democrats react to Supreme Court decisions on redistricting, citizenship question
Sioux City Journal
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Iowa has a unique method of drawing electoral districts, in which nonpartisan statehouse staffers draw the maps in a nonpartisan manner

June 27

New York Politicians Write More Laws Than Anyone Else, and Late Nights Yield Mistakes
The Wall Street Journal
The New York state Legislature in 2017 introduced 16,038 bills and enacted 505 of them, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislators.

How 3 States Are Digging In on Civics Education
Education Week
And last year, the National Conference of State Legislatures counted nearly 115 civics education-related bills.

5 facts about marijuana
Pew Research Center
Eleven states and the District of Columbia have legalized small amounts of marijuana for adult recreational use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Sex ed in Arizona: How does it work? What are schools allowed to teach?
AZ Central
About half of U.S. states, including California, Florida, Maryland and Louisiana,  mandate sex education, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Arizona is not one of them.

June 26

Illinois becomes the 11th state to legalize marijuana
ABC News
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports there are 13 other states where marijuana has been decriminalized.
 
Ala. law terminates parental rights for anyone convicted of first-degree rape
The Washington Post
They say Alabama judges should terminate custody if there is “clear and convincing evidence” that an attack occurred — the standard used in a majority of states, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Clash over cap-and-trade in Oregon reflects hard-path of carbon pricing in Pacific Northwest
Seattle Times
Washington is one of 44 states to mandate that a majority of senators be on hand for a vote, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures — rather than the two-thirds majority that Oregon requires to be present for a vote on Senate legislation.

Campaign aims to get medical marijuana initiative on Idaho ballot
Tacoma News Tribune
In 1996, California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and since then, another 33 states, along with the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, have done the same.
 
Next Steps: ‘Wayfair’ internet sales tax
The Missouri Times
More than 30 states nationwide collect internet sales tax, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
GOP To PA Governor: State Funding For Census Outreach Is Unnecessary
WSJK
But Wendy Underhill, with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said other states are more uncertain about whether they’ll gain or lose seats–and that makes them likelier to put money into census outreach.

June 25

Pain patients left in anguish by doctors 'terrified' of opioid addiction, despite CDC change
USA Today
As of October 2018, 33 states have passed laws that limit or impose requirements on opioid prescriptions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
State funding for census outreach is unnecessary, GOP tells Wolf
PA Post
But Wendy Underhill, with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said other states are more uncertain about whether they’ll gain or lose seats–and that makes them likelier to put money into census outreach. “This year in particular, it seems as though there’s been a move toward more states putting money into census outreach,” she said. “California’s done it for at least two decades, but it’s not common practice that all states put money in.”

Transportation Secretary Craig Thompson: Gas Tax Fairest Way To Pay For Roads
Wisconsin Public Radio News
Since 2013, 31 states have raised gas taxes, according to National Conference of State Legislatures.

Voting rights and election reform are hot topics with Pa. lawmakers. It’s a moment three decades in the making.
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Election-related legislation also has risen nationally, according to LexisNexis data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 24

Illinois becomes the 11th state to legalize marijuana
ABC News
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports there are 13 other states where marijuana has been decriminalized.
 
Ala. law terminates parental rights for anyone convicted of first-degree rape
The Washington Post
They say Alabama judges should terminate custody if there is “clear and convincing evidence” that an attack occurred — the standard used in a majority of states, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Clash over cap-and-trade in Oregon reflects hard-path of carbon pricing in Pacific Northwest
Seattle Times
Washington is one of 44 states to mandate that a majority of senators be on hand for a vote, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures — rather than the two-thirds majority that Oregon requires to be present for a vote on Senate legislation.

Campaign aims to get medical marijuana initiative on Idaho ballot
Tacoma News Tribune
In 1996, California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and since then, another 33 states, along with the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, have done the same.
 
Next Steps: ‘Wayfair’ internet sales tax
The Missouri Times
More than 30 states nationwide collect internet sales tax, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
GOP To PA Governor: State Funding For Census Outreach Is Unnecessary
WSJK
But Wendy Underhill, with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said other states are more uncertain about whether they’ll gain or lose seats–and that makes them likelier to put money into census outreach.

June 23

Pain patients left in anguish by doctors 'terrified' of opioid addiction, despite CDC change
USA Today
As of October 2018, 33 states have passed laws that limit or impose requirements on opioid prescriptions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
State funding for census outreach is unnecessary, GOP tells Wolf
PA Post
But Wendy Underhill, with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said other states are more uncertain about whether they’ll gain or lose seats–and that makes them likelier to put money into census outreach. “This year in particular, it seems as though there’s been a move toward more states putting money into census outreach,” she said. “California’s done it for at least two decades, but it’s not common practice that all states put money in.”

Transportation Secretary Craig Thompson: Gas Tax Fairest Way To Pay For Roads
Wisconsin Public Radio News
Since 2013, 31 states have raised gas taxes, according to National Conference of State Legislatures.

Voting rights and election reform are hot topics with Pa. lawmakers. It’s a moment three decades in the making.
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Election-related legislation also has risen nationally, according to LexisNexis data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 22

Plastic Bans: What You Need to Know
The Wall Street Journal
But a number of state legislatures, including those in Oklahoma, Tennessee and North Dakota, have taken steps to stop plastics bans with pre-emptive laws prohibiting cities from passing their own restrictions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
A Year After Online Sales Tax Ruling, Are States Reaping More Revenues?
Governing
In addition to enacting laws for direct sellers, 32 states and Washington, D.C., have passed laws or regulations requiring marketplace facilitators to collect sales taxes on behalf of their sellers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
No, the only reason to oppose voter ID laws isn’t because 'you plan to cheat'
PolitiFact
Some states have "strict" voter ID laws, meaning citizens in those states who don’t have valid IDs must vote on a provisional ballot and take additional steps to ensure their vote is counted, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
NY Lawmakers OK $500K Wayfair Threshold, GILTI Exemption
Law360
NCSL Information Cited.
 
“The ultimate scarlet letter”: A 29-year-old could get name off sex-offender registry for juvenile crimes if Denver court decides he’s being cruelly, unusually punished
The Denver Post
Thirty-seven states have similar laws requiring mandatory registration for some juvenile sex offenders, according to a National Conference of State Legislatures 2011 report. 
 
Nevada’s first female majority Legislature got a lot done
Las Vegas Review Journal
In 1971 women held just 4.5 percent of legislative seats nationwide. In 1992, dubbed the “Year of the Woman,” they surpassed the 20 percent mark for the first time. It would take another 25 years for women to top the 25 percent mark, said Katie Ziegler, program manager of the Women’s Legislative Network at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Ohio motorists will pay more in gas taxes starting July 1
Dayton Daily. News
Since 2013, 30 states and the District of Columbia have pushed gas tax increases, including four states so far in 2019, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Bills Aim to End Pennsylvania's Straight-Party Voting Option
NBC 10 Philadelphia
The National Conference of State Legislatures says eight other states allow it.

June 21

A Year After Online Sales Tax Ruling, Are States Reaping More Revenues?
Governing 
In addition to enacting laws for direct sellers, 32 states and Washington, D.C., have passed laws or regulations requiring marketplace facilitators to collect sales taxes on behalf of their sellers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Marketplace facilitators are online brokers, such as Amazon or Ebay, that sell a third party’s goods and services. More states are expected to take similar action in the coming year.

Texas children can still be arrested for prostitution, after Gov. Abbott veto
Houston Chronicle
Already 20 states have passed laws that give sex-trafficking victims immunity from certain prosecution, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Ban on single-use plastic bags introduced in Philly Council with 15-cent fee on other bags
The Philadelphia Inquirer
If Philadelphia’s ordinance is approved, it would join Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco in banning single-use plastic bags, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. Boulder, Colo., New York City, Portland, Ore., and Washington all have bans and additional fees. 
 
After passing the plastic bag ban, Delaware might also ban paper bags
Delaware Online
Some states, such as California and Hawaii, already have their own paper bag restrictions. But none so far have a full ban of all paper bags, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Hogan names new info security officer, offices to boost Maryland cybersecurity
WTOP
At least 15 states have authorized such a position, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 20

Florida Eases Self-Driving Car Rules: Are States And Cities On The Hook For Mishaps?
Forbes
There are now 29 states that have various driverless laws on their books, per the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Late State Budgets Are Less Common This Year. There's 2 Big Reasons for That.
Governing
As of Tuesday, 39 states had either passed a budget or had one awaiting a governor’s signature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Pennsylvania moves to expand limits on opioid prescriptions
San Francisco Chronicle
The National Conference of State Legislatures says states have moved aggressively and most now have limits.
 
Mississippi group pushes for medical marijuana ballot initiative
Meridian Star
Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia have approved medical marijuana programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, including Louisiana, Arkansas, Florida and Oklahoma.

Why a marijuana listing app advertised across Nashville
Nashville Business Journal
Medical and recreational marijuana are illegal in Tennessee, though the state allows oils with high CBD and low THC concentrations for people with certain seizure conditions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Maine Governor Signs Plastic Bag Ban Bill
NECN
The National Conference of State Legislatures says California, New York and all of Hawaii's counties ban plastic bags.

June 19

Hogan hires a cybersecurity chief, ramping defense against threats to data systems
Washington Post
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 15 states have created a state chief information security officer position through statute. Other states, like Maryland, developed it through executive order or agency action.

Late State Budgets Are Less Common This Year. There's 2 Big Reasons for That.
Governing
As of Tuesday, 39 states had either passed a budget or had one awaiting a governor’s signature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That’s a far cry from 2017 when 11 states started the fiscal year without a signed budget and another 10 had to call a special session to approve one after missing the initial deadline.

Florida Eases Self-Driving Car Rules: Are States And Cities On The Hook For Mishaps?
Forbes
There are now 29 states that have various driverless laws on their books, per the National Conference of State Legislatures: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, plus Washington, D.C.
 
SC hospitals need approval to buy equipment over $600K. Some leaders call that restrictive.
Charleston Post Courier
All but 13 states have these laws in some form, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Oregon step closer to abolishing time changes
The Register-Guard
More than two dozen states have introduced legislation ending the practice of twice-yearly time changes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
New York State Enacts Law to Give Illegal Aliens Access to Driver’s Licenses
The Epoch Times
Twelve states and the District of Columbia already grant drivers licenses to illegal aliens, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 18

Maine bans single-use plastic grocery bags by Earth Day 2020
Washington Post
Maine’s bill comes as municipalities and legislatures in many states have considered such bans. Vermont’s governor signed its own bill into law Monday, according to his office. California, New York and all of Hawaii’s counties already ban plastic bags, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

New York Lawmakers Near Landmark Deal on Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Wall Street Journal
If the bill passes, New York would be the only state with an 85% reduction target based on 1990 levels across all sectors of its economy, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
NY weighs releasing original birth certificates to adoptees
Newsday
Twenty-five states still require a court order to release the original birth certificate to an adopted child, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Idaho minimum wage falling farther behind, prompting ballot measure
Idaho State Journal
“It’s not an entirely partisan issue when it comes to the voters,” said Jackson Brainerd, a policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
State ranked No. 40 on kids’ well-being
Arkansas Democrat Gazette
A married couple that makes up to $52,493 and has two children could receive up to $5,828 in tax credit under the federal program, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Gov. Mills signs single-use plastic bag ban into law
WMTW Portland
California and New York have also prohibited the use of plastic bags, while all of Hawaii's counties have passed such a ban, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 17

California could become first to limit facial recognition technology; police aren't happy
USA TODAY
“There’s been an increased focus on privacy issues generally by state legislatures this year,” says Pam Greenberg of the National Council of State Legislatures.

Despite #MeToo Glare, Efforts to Ban Secret Settlements Stop Short
The New York Times
NCSL Information Cited
 
Eager to Limit Exemptions to Vaccination, States Face Staunch Resistance
The New York Times
NCSL Information Cited
 
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Signs Sanctuary-City Ban
The Wall Street Journal
NCSL Information Cited
 
New use sought for Arizona Capitol space after library moves
Washington Times
A senior legislative staff official said representatives from the National Conference of State Legislatures and other organizations frequently comment on the Arizona Capitol’s austerity.
“When people from NCSL come here, they say ‘It’s nice but it’s nothing like’ and then they name any other state,” said Michael Braun, Legislative Council executive director.

Idaho minimum wage falling farther behind, prompting ballot measure
Idaho Press Tribune
“It’s not an entirely partisan issue when it comes to the voters,” said Jackson Brainerd, a policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Florida becomes 12th state to ban sanctuary cities
Fox Carolina
Meanwhile, more than 30 bills related to sanctuary policies -- both for and against them -- are pending across the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 14

Florida law to allow autonomous cars _ when they're ready
ABC News
As of March, the most recent month for which information is available, 29 states had passed laws related to autonomous vehicles, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

New York Ends Religious Exemptions for School Vaccinations
The Wall Street Journal
New York joins California, Mississippi, West Virginia and Maine as the only states that have eliminated religious exemptions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Automatic voter registration bill heads to governor
WMTM News 8 Portland
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 17 states have automatic voter registration.

State Lawmakers Seek to "Ban the Plastic-Bag Bans" in Ohio 
Public News Service
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only three states have completely outlawed plastic bags: California, New York and Hawaii. More states have enacted legislation preventing local governments from doing the same. They are Arizona, Idaho, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and Florida.

June 13

States losing gas tax revenue on electric, hybrid cars 
Washington Times
Over the past three years, 14 states have enacted annual fees for hybrid/electric vehicles (EVs) ranging from $50 for plug-in hybrids to $200 for fully electric cars, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. All total, 20 states currently have some sort of EV fee above and beyond normal car registration costs.

AI’s Eyes on Job Interviews Prompts Law on Disclosure, Data Use
Bloomberg Law
The technology’s role has Illinois poised to be the first state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, to require companies to tell applicants that they’re being screened that way. 

It's true: Iowa law requires dealers to first pay taxes before selling illegal drugs. But is it fair?
Des Moines Register
It's true: Iowa law requires dealers to first pay taxes before selling illegal drugs. But is it fair?

Automatic Voter Registration Bill Heads To Governor
Maine Public
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 17 states have automatic voter registration.

State could take over operation of health care exchange
New Castle News
Twelve other states – including Delaware, Maryland and New York – have state-run exchanges, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 12

Alabama approves ‘chemical castration’ bill for some sex offenders
The Washington Post
Seven other states and U.S. territories — California, Florida, Guam, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana and Wisconsin — permit some sex offenders to be forced to take testosterone-suppressing drugs as a condition of sentencing, release or supervision, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A Republican lawmaker in Oklahoma proposed a bill last year that would have authorized the treatment there, but the measure failed.

Details pending on chemical castration law 
Times Daily
California was the first state to pass in 1996 a chemical castration law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Several others followed. Georgia and Oregon repealed their bills in 2006 and 2001, respectively.

State could take over operation of health care exchange 
TribDem.com
Twelve other states – including Delaware, Maryland and New York – have state-run exchanges, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Florida to celebrate 100 years of women’s right to vote
Sun Sentinel
Women make up 30 percent of the Florida Legislature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

For undocumented Arizona high school grad, Yale is more affordable than ASU
AZ Central
At least 18 states have laws or policies that allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

June 11

Texas Will No Longer Suspend Work Licenses Over Unpaid Student Loans
Forbes
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, by 2010, “roughly half of states had some form of license suspension for default law in place.”

New York Voters Want Religious Exemption Removed For Vaccinations, Poll Finds
Huff Post
States require childhood vaccinations for measles and other once-common illnesses, but most allow parents to invoke religious exemptions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

In Alabama, rapists have parental rights
Chicago Daily Herald
More than half of the 50 states use the "clear and convincing evidence" standard, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures using Justice Department data.

As unemployment sits at lowest level since 1969, new report ranks best states to find a job
ABC Fox Montana
Its analysis is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Indeed.com, Gallup-Healthways, United Health Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, National Conference of State Legislatures, among many others.

Maine Democrats advance bill to establish automatic voter registration by 2022
WGME
It will be similar to most automatic registration programs in the U.S., according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Colorado a step closer to adopting health reinsurance plan 
coloradopolitics.com
At least seven states have seen rates drop by as much as 20% after adopting reinsurance programs, according to the National Council of State Legislatures. Others are seeking U.S. approval.

June 10

Texas Is Latest State to Pump the Brakes on Red-Light Cameras
The New York Times
It joins at least seven other states — Maine, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, South Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia — that already have statutes prohibiting the cameras, the National Conference of State Legislatures said. 
 
In Alabama – where lawmakers banned abortion for rape victims – rapists’ parental rights are protected
The Washington Post
NCSL Information Cited

Sheryl Crow slams abortion bans in Alabama, Missouri
The Hill
There are 41 women in the Missouri House of Representatives and 18 in Alabama, but both states fall far below 50 percent for women representatives and senators at the state level, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Redistricting Guru's Hard Drives Could Mean Legal, Political Woes For GOP
NPR
"Redistricting is like an election in reverse! It's a great event," he [Thomas Hofeller] said with a smile at a National Conference of State Legislatures event in 2000.
 
Oregon joins Washington, moves toward permanent daylight saving time
Seattle Times
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than 30 states are considering legislation related to the practice of changing clocks twice a year. British Columbia Premier John Horgan has said that he will authorize the move to permanent daylight saving time if Washington, Oregon and California do so.

Hemp raising farmers' hopes for lucrative crop in Arizona
Arkansas Democrat Gazette
The National Conference of State Legislatures says more than 40 states have established industrial hemp cultivation programs.
 
Legislative Council seeks new life for old space
Arizona Capitol Times
Representatives from the National Conference of State Legislatures and other organizations frequently comment on the Arizona Capitol’s austerity, Braun said.