NCSL in the News | March 2019

3/1/2019

March 20

In Vulgar Diatribe, Cuomo Aide Calls 3 Female Lawmakers ‘Idiots’
The New York Times
NCSL Information Cited.
 
Georgia medical marijuana bill clears Senate committee
The Augusta Chronicle
Thirty-three states already have comprehensive medical marijuana programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Georgia is one of 13 other states that allow patients to possess a lower potency form of the drug.

Governor signs bill for ethics commission
Santa Fe New Mexican
The law sets up a process for the commission to get subpoenas for investigations through particular courts. But good-government groups argued the commission should have subpoena power. Only seven other states lacked some sort of ethics commission, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Senator wants to toughen school vaccination rules
Sunbury Daily Item
Only three states — California, Mississippi and West Virginia — don’t allow parents to cite religious objections to get out of immunizing their children, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Pennsylvania is one of just 17 states that allow parents to opt out of immunizing their children for other philosophical reasons.

Senate Democrats seek annual legislative sessions in Nevada
SF Gate
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that Nevada, Texas, Montana and North Dakota are the only states that hold sessions every other year.
 
Bill banning tax on plastic bags advances
The Journal Record
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, while some states are still investigating recycling as an option, others, like California and Hawaii, are imposing bag bans.

March 28

The Technology 202: States seek to curb chaos unleashed by electric scooter boom
The Washington Post
In total, nearly 70 bills related to e-scooters have been introduced in 29 state legislatures in recent months, according to Douglas Shinkle, who follows transportation issues for the National Conference of State Legislatures (Mississippi and New Mexico appear to be the only states where e-scooter legislation has failed).

Georgia medical marijuana bill clears Senate committee
Bradenton Herald
Thirty-three states already have comprehensive medical marijuana programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Georgia is one of 13 other states that allow patients to possess a lower potency form of the drug.

Arrested in Utah? Under a new law, mug-shot websites are banned from charging you hundreds of dollars to remove your jail booking photo.
The Salt Lake Tribune
However, critics of efforts to tamp down on these sites argue that journalists rely on mug shots to do their jobs and that the photographs are part of the public’s right to know who’s being arrested in their communities, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Missouri lawmaker wants to stop local plastic bans: 'Let's keep government out of it'
Fox News
At least 91 bills have been introduced in cities across the country so far this year, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
States seek to curb chaos unleashed by electric scooter boom
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
In total, nearly 70 bills related to e-scooters have been introduced in 29 state legislatures in recent months, according to Douglas Shinkle, who follows transportation issues for the National Conference of State Legislatures (Mississippi and New Mexico appear to be the only states where e-scooter legislation has failed).
 
Dell, Apple, Silicon Labs again sound warning about Texas' potentially 'discriminatory' laws
Austin Business Journal
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 16 states have considered legislation that would restrict access to sex-segregated facilities to the gender on a person’s birth certificate.
 
Common Core repeal comes to Alabama: What happened in other states?
AL.COM (Local News)
The National Conference of State Legislature’s senior analyst Dan Thatcher told AL.com that bills calling for repeal of Common Core have also been filed in state legislatures in six other states---Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York and West Virginia---during the current session.
 
New Mexico Governor Signs Same Day And Automated Voter Registration Law
KRWG Public Media
New Mexico now joins 17 other states and the District of Columbia in offering same-day registration. States with same-day voter registration see voter turnout increase by an average of 5 percent, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Arkansas bill would allow in-state tuition for immigrants
WREG 3 News
At least 18 states have provisions allowing for in-state tuition rates for students who entered the country illegally, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

March 27

California bill attempts to force Trump to release tax records to get on statewide 2020 ballot
CNBC
Meantime, legislators in several other states also have proposed legislation along the same lines that would require future presidential candidates to release their tax returns as a condition for being placed on the ballot, according to the National Conference of State Legislature.
 
Mapping pot legalization politics: Not just red vs. blue
Times Herald-Record
For all that, lawmakers in 21 states at least proposed legalizing marijuana last year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. “It’s not an exclusive discussion to blue states or red states,” says Karmen Hanson, a cannabis policy analyst for the group. “States are talking about it in the rainbow of red, blue and purple.”

Child advocates seek to raise legal age to marry
The Salem News
Currently two-dozen other states set the minimum age at 16 or 17, with exceptions made in cases of emancipated minors, parental consent or a judge’s approval, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Another 18 states do not set any absolute minimum age, and seven states allow for a pregnancy to lower the minimum age.

Attorney Matthew T. Glavin Joins Cozen O'Connor Public Strategies Group in Chicago
Chicago Daily Herald
"He's also cultivated strong ties to a range of important national organizations -- including the National Conference of State Legislators, the National Governors Association and the U.S. Conference of Mayors."
 
SCOTUS will hear gerrymandering cases today that could affect Ohio’s map: Capitol Letter
Cleveland Local News (Cleveland.com)
The state reimbursed him $5,085.60 for mileage. He also reported travel payments of $468 from the National Conference of State Legislatures and $1,642.27 from Ohio Jewish Communities Inc.
 
How the Alabama Legislature is preparing for self-driving cars
Alabama Local News (AL.COM)
As automakers continue to experiment with autonomous vehicles, the legal way forward is still being worked out. Congress considered but failed to pass federal regulations for their operation before the end of last year, and so far, only 30 states have passed legislation related to their operation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Alabama is one of those already working on it.
 
Tennessee moves to stop cities from banning plastic bags
WREG 3
Tennessee is one of at least five states where lawmakers are considering pre-empting local governments from taxing or banning plastic bags that are used to carry everything from groceries to clothing and cosmetics, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ website.
 
Arkansas bill would allow in-state tuition for immigrants
WRAL News
At least 18 states have provisions allowing for in-state tuition rates for students who entered the country illegally, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

March 26

Mapping pot legalization politics: Not just red vs. blue
Washington Post
For all that, lawmakers in 21 states at least proposed legalizing marijuana last year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. “It’s not an exclusive discussion to blue states or red states,” says Karmen Hanson, a cannabis policy analyst for the group. “States are talking about it in the rainbow of red, blue and purple.”

Tennessee among states looking to outlaw local plastic bag bans
The Tennessean
Tennessee is one of at least five states where lawmakers are considering pre-empting local governments from taxing or banning plastic bags that are used to carry everything from groceries to clothing and cosmetics, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ website. Eleven other states, including Texas, Arizona and Florida, already have similar laws in place, the NCSL said.

Gov. Burgum signs repeal of Sunday shopping ban
San Francisco Chronicle
The National Conference of State Legislatures says North Dakota is the only state that prohibits shopping on Sunday morning.
 
Michigan's minimum wage is going up. Why it matters even if you earn more
Detroit Free Press
Eighteen states began the new year with higher minimum wages, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan non-governmental organization. 
 
Oklahoma moves to stop towns from fees, bans on plastic bags
Journal Record
Oklahoma is one of at least five states where lawmakers are considering pre-empting local governments from taxing or banning plastic bags that are used to carry everything from groceries to clothing and cosmetics, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ website.
 
Hemp program being designed, gaining support
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier
Iowa is one of just seven states without an industrial hemp program, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

March 25

How to buy alcohol online and where to shop
Business Insider
In almost all other states, wine deliveries are perfectly legal, though they will require an adult signature in most places. AZ, DC, DE, FL, HI, OH, OR, MA, MO, NE, NH, ND, and VT expressly permit beer delivery, while only AZ, FL, HI, NE, and NH "authorize the direct shipment of all spirits," as stated by the National Conference of State Legislatures' Direct Shipment of Alcohol Statutes page.

Oklahoma moves to stop towns from fees, bans on plastic bags
Raleigh News & Observer
Oklahoma is one of at least five states where lawmakers are considering pre-empting local governments from taxing or banning plastic bags that are used to carry everything from groceries to clothing and cosmetics, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures' website. 
 
Governor considers Election Day voter registration
Albuquerque Journal
Academic studies have found strong evidence that same-day registration increases voter turnout, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Lujan Grisham signs landmark clean energy bill
Santa Fe New Mexican
Only California and Hawaii have similar targets in place, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Drone bill passes in Tennessee Legislature
Kingsport Times News
Drones are increasingly coming to the attention of state policymakers who are attempting to strike a balance between public safety and commercial use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
 
Fate of Native children may hinge on US adoption case
Bristol Herald Courier
Since 2009, they’ve had the highest rates of representation in the foster care system, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a Washington, D.C.-based group that tracks state policy.

March 21

Legislature passes speed camera bills — Gillibrand staffer to resign — Inside Albany's fundraising circuit
Politico
In at least 29 states, including Colorado, Connecticut and Wisconsin, it is against the law for lobbyists or those who hire them to make campaign contributions while the state legislature is in session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Trump could be left off some states’ ballots in 2020 if these bills become law
The Washington Post
Eighteen states have considered legislation this year that would require presidential and vice presidential candidates to post their tax returns to appear on the ballot during a primary or general election, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
 
9 Fund-Raisers in 1 Night: Democrats Vow Reform in N.Y., but Money Still Flows
The New York Times
In at least 29 states, including Colorado, Connecticut and Wisconsin, it is against the law for lobbyists or those who hire them to make campaign contributions while the state legislature is in session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Want to work well into retirement? Try marijuana
MarketWatch
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than 30 states have some kind of medical marijuana law on the books. The Mayo Clinic shows that it may help with conditions like glaucoma, nausea and vomiting associated with cancer treatment, pain, seizures and muscle stiffness and spasms caused by multiple sclerosis.

Debate over ending Colorado’s death penalty part of national conversation
The Denver Post
“There’s a difference between popular opinion and those tasked with carrying out capital punishment,” said Amber Widgery, a senior policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures, which monitors policy trends across the states. “With mounting cost and logistical difficulties, lawmakers are taking a hard look and asking themselves if they can sustain this.”
 
Bill calls for banning corporal punishment in N.C. public schools
Winston-Salem Journal
Corporal punishment in schools has been banned in more than 30 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Florida rolls with smokable medical marijuana, ending years long debate
Washington Examiner
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 34 states governments have now legalized the use of medical marijuana.
 
Bills would offer driver's licenses to immigrants living in the US illegally
WTSP News
Twelve states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, allow unauthorized immigrants to get a driver's license, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

March 20

Got a criminal record? Will hire: Businesses pledge to give formerly incarcerated a chance
USA Today
Twenty-three states and Washington, D.C., have banned private or public employers from asking prospective employees if they have a criminal history until after they've passed an initial screening, had an interview or been given a conditional job offer, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

North Dakota Legislature repeals Sunday morning shopping ban
Washington Post
Most states at some time in their history have had laws regulating Sunday activities, but most have since been repealed by lawmakers or struck down by courts. About a dozen states have some form of Sunday sales laws, but only North Dakota prohibits shopping on Sunday morning, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

9 Fund-Raisers in 1 Night: Democrats Vow Reform in NY, but Money Still Flows
New York Times
In at least 29 states, including Colorado, Connecticut and Wisconsin, it is against the law for lobbyists or those who hire them to make campaign contributions while the state legislature is in session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some states, like Texas and Florida, even go further and prohibit contributions from any source during the legislative session.

As Wisconsin discusses medical marijuana, experts share highs and lows
Madison.com
Colorado, the first of 10 states to legalize recreational marijuana, banned cartoon images and candy-like names for edible pot products to discourage childhood use. Still, poison-control calls linked to cannabis have increased, though it’s not clear why, a legislative expert said. “It could be that more people are being honest ... because it is now legal,” said Karmen Hanson, program director for behavioral health at the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures.

5 facts about vaccines in the U.S.
PEW Research Center
Legislators in at least 11 states have introduced bills to limit or eliminate nonmedical exemptions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
As Home-Cooked Cottage-Food Industry Grows, States Work to Keep Up
Stateline
“Food freedom is pushing the envelope. It’s basically cottage foods on steroids,” said Doug Farquhar, program director for environmental health at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “It’s a pretty risky proposition.”
 
Medical cannabis expansion has high support in the Texas Legislature. But Dan Patrick might stand in the way.
The Texas Tribune
More than 30 states allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Arkansas lawmakers mull 10-year legislative term limit
El Dorado News-Times
California and Oklahoma currently have the strictest legislative term limits, limiting their lawmakers to 12 years in office, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
School board recognizes certified teachers
WDVM
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards was established in 1987 in order to maintain a high set of standards for accomplished teachers. And according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only three percent of the nation's teachers are certified.
 
Arkansas lawmakers push for 10-year legislative term limit
WMC News 5
The National Conference of State Legislatures records show the severest term restrictions are currently in California and Oklahoma, which both limit lawmakers to serving 12 years.

March 19

Kansas court to hear arguments on proof of citizenship voting law 
CBS News
The National Conference of State Legislatures has counted 35 states that have laws requiring some form of identification at the polls, but the Kansas voter registration statute at issue goes further by requiring people to provide documents such as a birth certificate, U.S. passport or naturalization papers before they can even register to vote.

From Annapolis to Kabul: Maryland state senator headed to Afghanistan 
Washington Post
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there were 63 state legislators serving in military reserve or National Guard units in 2010, the last year data was collected. Twenty-six state lawmakers were deployed between 2005 and 2010. One of them was then-Maryland House Majority Whip Anthony G. Brown. Brown, who went on to become lieutenant governor and now represents Maryland in Congress, was deployed to Iraq in 2004, raising his profile in Annapolis. 

Arkansas lawmakers consider 10-year legislative term limit 
www.fox16.com
California and Oklahoma currently have the strictest legislative term limits, limiting their lawmakers to 12 years in office, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Excerpts from recent South Dakota editorials 
The State
Maybe it was the various levels of support shown in 41 states that have enacted hemp growing and production programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Now Law: Kean Bill Creates Driverless Car Task Force 
Insider NJ
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 29 states have ratified bills associated with autonomous vehicles.

Kansas hopes to resurrect proof-of-citizenship voting law 
Fox 28 Spokane
The National Conference of State Legislatures has counted 35 states that have laws</a> requiring some form of identification at the polls, but the Kansas voter registration statute at issue goes further by requiring people to provide documents such as a birth certificate, U.S. passport or naturalization papers before they can even register to vote.

March 18

From Annapolis to Kabul: Maryland state senator headed to Afghanistan
Washington Post
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there were 63 state legislators serving in military reserve or National Guard units in 2010, the last year data was collected. Twenty-six state lawmakers were deployed between 2005 and 2010. One of them was then-Maryland House Majority Whip Anthony G. Brown. Brown, who went on to become lieutenant governor and now represents Maryland in Congress, was deployed to Iraq in 2004, raising his profile in Annapolis.

John Boehner Was Once 'Unalterably Opposed' To Marijuana. He Now Wants It To Be Legal
NPR
Boehner's reversal has mirrored a wider shift in the nation at-large. Today, 34 states and the District of Columbia have approved the use of marijuana for either medical or recreational purposes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

New Boise library or stadium? They're OK with it, but want a say for those who aren't
Idaho Statesman
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, an initiative is “a law or constitutional amendment introduced by citizens through a petition process either to the legislature or directly to the voters.”

Immigrants rally for Wisconsin driver's licenses
Wisconsin State Journal
If lawmakers were to approve the measure, Wisconsin would join 12 other states and the District of Columbia in making all immigrants eligible for driver’s licenses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Minimum wage: What would $15 an hour mean for Vermont?
Burlington Free Press
New York City already has a $15 minimum wage for large employers, and small employers will be required to comply at the end of the year. Washington D.C. plans to follow suit in 2020, and California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Illinois have each passed plans to reach $15 in the early part of the decade, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, an organization that tracks wage legislation.

College-admissions scandal exposes another ugly truth
Duluth News Tribune
It is more accurately defined, to quote the National Conference of State Legislatures, as "admission policies that provide equal access to education for those groups that have been historically excluded or underrepresented, such as women and minorities."

New Boise library or stadium? They’re OK with it, but want a say for those who aren’t
Idaho Statesman
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, an initiative is “a law or constitutional amendment introduced by citizens through a petition process either to the legislature or directly to the voters.”

2020 Ballots In These States Might Not Include Trump Unless He Releases His Tax Returns
Bustle
But Washington legislators aren't the only state lawmakers to consider such a bill. In fact, the Associated Press has reported that, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, similar bills have been introduced in at least 25 states in recent years.

March 13

UnitedHealth Expands Drug Rebate Program to Consumers
Fortune
Given premium increases—the average premium cost for employer-based family coverage rose 5% in 2018 according to the National Conference for State Legislatures—much of the apparent cost reduction might be passed on in other forms.
 
North Carolina Considers Hand-Held Phone Ban While Driving
U.S. News & World Report
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia now prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cellphones, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A new Georgia law began last summer.

Fate of Native Children May Hinge on U.S. Adoption Case
PEW Trusts
Since 2009, they’ve had the highest rates of representation in the foster care system, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a Washington, D.C.-based group that tracks state policy.
 
The Latest: SD House Overrides Governor's Veto of Hemp Bill
U.S. News & World Report
The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 41 states have enacted hemp growing and production programs.
 
Is The U.S. Ready For A Gas Tax Increase?
Forbes
From 2013-2018, at least 28 states have raised their levies, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, though many increases have been modest.
 
The worst distracted driving in Washington isn’t happening in Seattle, according to a new study
Seattle Times
The study, based on data from the U.S Department of Transportation, Department of Motor Vehicles, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and the National Conference of State Legislatures, also looked at maximum fines, what triggers a license suspension and how hard it is to get your license back.

Presidential tax return requirement passes Washington Senate
Tacoma News Tribune
At least 25 states have proposed similar bills in recent years according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, spurring wide debate over whether states have the Constitutional authority to make such rules.

Is the Missouri legislature too large? Voters could get a chance to fix that
Kansas City Star
Missouri’s House of Representatives is one of the largest in the United States. According to figures compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, only the state houses in New Hampshire, Georgia and Pennsylvania are larger.
 
Driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants getting closer to reality in New York
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
Twelve states plus Washington D.C. allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses, including California and Connecticut, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

March 12

Gov. Noem vetoes bill legalizing industrial hemp production
Washington Post
At least 41 states have enacted hemp growing and production programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Why Measles Hits So Hard Within N.Y. Orthodox Jewish Community
ABC News
Seventeen states allow parents not to vaccinate their children for philosophical reasons, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but New York is not one of them.

Many states want to drop daylight saving time. Maryland isn't one of them
Baltimore Sun
But 26 states are questioning the need to change the clock twice a year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Maryland isn’t one of them, but more states than ever before are considering changes to daylight saving time since the group began tracking the issue five years ago, according to the organization.

'Our state is not yet ready': Noem vetoes hemp legalization bill hours after passage
Daily Republic
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 41 states have hemp programs already in place. Lesmeister said more are currently debating legalization.

VERIFY: No, Freedom of speech doesn't protect legislators from the ramifications of using racial slurs
WUSA9.com
"Disciplinary actions are used by legislatures to respond to both official and private misconduct," the National Conference of State Legislatures writes.  "Typically, however, a chamber will consider private misconduct only when it reflects upon a member’s loyalty or integrity and if it tends to diminish public confidence in the member’s capacities or the legislative institution."
            
Arkansas House OKs nursing licenses for DACA recipients
The State
The Arkansas State Board of Nursing began denying licenses in 2017 to candidates in the DACA program, which was started during Barack Obama's presidency and allows those brought to the U.S. illegally as children to remain in the country. A 2017 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures says 10 states allow DACA recipients to obtain professional licenses.

TV shows and movies about Missouri aren't filmed here. Lawmakers could change that.
Springfield News-Leader
And film tax credits have been a popular target: 12 other states have gotten rid of film tax credits since 2009, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Do you support raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour?
WKRN News 2
Eighteen states across the country raised their minimum wage in the last year, according to a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

March 11

Washington House OKs step toward year-round daylight saving
Washington Post
At least 26 states are considering legislation related to the practice of changing clocks twice a year, including the three West Coast states, according the National Conference of State Legislatures. That’s the most number of states with bills on the issue since the group started tracking the topic five years ago, said Jim Reed, who has been following daylight saving bills for the conference.

Correction: Facebook-Vaccine Misinformation story
ABC News
Vaccination against a list of diseases is required to attend school in the U.S., but 17 states allow some type of non-medical exemption for "personal, moral or other beliefs," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Legislature to get new revenue forecasts for budget-writing
Miami Herald
The National Conference of State Legislatures says about a dozen states have some form of Sunday sales laws, but only North Dakota prohibits shopping on Sunday morning.
 
How a straight shooter is trying to change Washington state’s vaccine-exemption law
Seattle Times
While all states allow for medical exemptions and only three have banned religious exceptions, Washington is among 17 states to allow some type of philosophical vaccine exemption, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Downsizing the General Assembly
The Missourian
The Jefferson City News-Tribune said according to the National Conference of State Legislators, New Hampshire has the largest Legislature with 424 members. Fitzwater said compared to the eight states surrounding Missouri, our state has by far the largest Legislature. Illinois has 20 fewer lawmakers than Missouri.

Hate crimes push hits snag
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Washington state and Oregon had the first hate crime statutes in 1981, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Bill on Arkansas nursing licenses in DACA cases advances
Arkansas Democrat Gazette
A January 2017 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures found 10 states that allowed DACA recipients or other foreigners to obtain professional licenses.
 
Year-round daylight saving bill passes
Lewiston Tribune
At least 26 states are considering legislation related to the practice of changing clocks twice a year, including the three West Coast states, according the National Conference of State Legislatures.

March 8

Facebook steps up fight against vaccine misinformation 
Washington Post
Vaccination against a list of diseases is required to attend school in the U.S., but 17 states allow some type of non-medical exemption for “personal, moral or other beliefs,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Car crashes, psychosis, suicide: Is the drive to legalize marijuana ignoring major risks?
USA Today
Now all but four – Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota – allow marijuana for medical or recreational use, or permit public use of low-THC cannabidiol formulations, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Election officials raise concerns with same-day voter registration, expanded early voting 
The Nevada Independent
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 17 states and the District of Columbia offer some form of same-day voter registration. States with same-day voter registration typically see a 3 to 7 percent bump in total voter turnout and studies indicate no real effect on turnout for a particular party or demographic group.

North Dakota lawmakers approve resolutions raising the bar on constitutional amendments
Bismarck Tribune
North Dakota is among more than a dozen states with a direct initiative process for amending its constitution, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Optometry services bill passes in House
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
An October 2018 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures listed Alaska, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Kentucky as allowing optometrists to perform some laser surgeries and remove lumps and bumps.

Restoring voting rights for felons touted as way to cut recidivism
Omaha World-Herald
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 36 states allow felons to vote after they complete their sentences, while two never take away their right to vote.

Teen tells Senate: Online conspiracies convinced my mom not to vaccinate
LaSalle News Tribune
Vaccination against a list of diseases is required to attend school, but 17 states, including Ohio, allow some type of non-medical exemption for "personal, moral or other beliefs," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

March 7

House Democrats take a big step toward passing $15 per hour US minimum wage
CNBC
Twenty-nine states currently have higher minimum wages than the federal level, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Hawaii lawmakers pass automatic recount, voter registration 
Miami Herald
Twenty states and the District of Columbia allow for automatic recounts when the margin between winner and loser is narrow enough, the National Conference of State Legislatures says. Maine became the first state in the nation to adopt ranked choice voting for U.S. House and Senate races in November.

Good News: Opioid Prescribing Fell. The Bad? Pain Patients Suffer, Doctors Say.
The New York Times
By the end of 2016, seven states had passed legislation limiting opioid prescriptions; by October 2018, 33 states had enacted laws with some type of limit, guidance or requirement related to opioids, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Restoring voting rights for felons touted as way to cut recidivism 
Omaha World-Herald
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 36 states allow felons to vote after they complete their sentences, while two never take away their right to vote.

North Dakota lawmakers approve resolutions raising the bar on constitutional amendments 
Grand Forks Herald
North Dakota is among more than a dozen states with a direct initiative process for amending its constitution, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Move to ban single-use plastic bags gaining momentum
The State
The National Conference of State Legislatures says a number of cities and states across the United States have enacted laws banning or charging fees for single-use plastic bags.

On Ballot Harvesting, GOP May Have to Push Back
RealClearPolitics
“For some people, this is a question of convenience and some others are more concerned about [ballot] security,” said Wendy Underhill, the director of elections and redistricting for the National Conference of State Legislatures, which has tracked ballot-collecting laws in all 50 states.

Teen tells Senate why he defied his mom to get vaccinated
WNCT
Vaccination against a list of diseases is required to attend school, but 17 states, including Ohio, allow some type of non-medical exemption for "personal, moral or other beliefs," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

March 6

Bill raising Georgia’s marriage age to 17 advances
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Eleven states require couples to be 17 or older to marry, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Balancing Work as a Caregiver With Your Job 
Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Four states—California, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island—offer paid family leave. Other states have expanded benefits or eligibility for family leave. The National Conference of State Legislatures keeps track of state policies at ncsl.org.

Hemp legalization barely hangs on after Noem's opposition, failed Senate vote 
Rapid City Journal
Congress’s 2018 farm bill, which Noem voted in favor of while still a U.S. representative, legalized hemp on the federal level. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 41 other states have legalized the growth and production of hemp.

Teen Who Defied Mom to Get Vaccinated: Online Conspiracies Scare Parents 
NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Vaccination against a list of diseases is required to attend school, but 17 states, including Ohio, allow some type of non-medical exemption for "personal, moral or other beliefs," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

One joint, 5 years of trouble: Lawmakers rethink small-time pot offenses
Waco Tribune-Herald
Thirteen other states have made possessing small amounts a civil rather than a criminal infraction, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Fitzwater proposes amendment to re-shape House, Senate
Jefferson City News Tribune
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures' website, New Hampshire has the largest legislature, with 424 members.

Can You Run For President & Senate At The Same Time? Bernie Sanders Is
Bustle
The National Conference of State Legislatures also explains the issue of dual office holdings: "Some states allow legislators to hold multiple state or local offices so long as no conflict exists between the positions. Other states prohibit legislators from holding statewide offices but allow legislators to hold county or municipal offices."

March 5

New Bill By Rubio, Warren Would Stop States From Suspending Job Licenses Over Unpaid Student Loans
Forbes
Around 2010, at the height of this legislative trend,” the National Conference of State Legislatures found that “roughly half of states had some form of license suspension for default law in place.” But less than a decade later, that figure has already fallen to 14 states. And it could drop even lower, thanks to bipartisan reform efforts like the Protecting JOBs Act.

GDPR: What Small Businesses Need To Know
Forbes
For U.S. companies, a state-by-state breakdown is compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, with whom to submit a report to.

Teen Who Went Against Anti-Vaxx Parents Will Testify Before Congress
U.S. News & World Report
Ohio is one of 17 states that allows parents to exempt their school-age children from vaccinations for personal, moral or other beliefs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Oregon works to limit use of 'hush money' 
Herald and News
Sixteen other states introduced legislation last year limiting the use of nondisclosure agreements, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures , as part of a national #MeToo reckoning that has touched almost every industry over the past year and a half.

Legislature to tackle medical pot, taxes, shopping
Miami Herald
The National Conference of State Legislatures says about a dozen states have some form of Sunday sales laws, but only North Dakota prohibits shopping on Sunday morning.

March 4

End philosophical vaccine exemption
Seattle Times
Washington is one of just 18 states that lets parents opt out of vaccines because of personal, moral or other beliefs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A measles epidemic centered in Clark County clearly illustrates why this law must be changed.

Assault rifle ban waits, targeted gun restrictions advance
Peninsula Daily News
Nationwide, extreme risk protection orders especially have become popular: At least 13 states have passed such laws, including nine since 2016, according to the National conference of State Legislatures.

Will Texas decriminalize marijuana this year? There is growing support.
Longview News-Journal
Ten states and the District of Columbia have legalized small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Thirteen other states have made possessing small amounts a civil rather than a criminal infraction, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In Texas, possession of any amount of marijuana is illegal.

Texas has given nearly $8 million in incentives to make TV commercials
San Antonio Express-News
Thirty-one states, along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, offer some kind of subsidy for film and television production — down from 44 states a decade ago, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

March 1

Will the state of Texas decriminalize marijuana this year? There is growing support.
Texas Tribune
Ten states and the District of Columbia have legalized small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Thirteen other states have made possessing small amounts a civil rather than a criminal infraction, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In Texas, possession of any amount of marijuana is illegal.

Decades waiting to vote: Louisiana parolees, probationers set to get voting rights back Friday
Times Picayune
It’s been fairly common across the United States for people convicted of felonies to face voting restrictions, but that’s changing. Eight states, including Louisiana, have loosened restrictions on formerly incarcerated people seeking the right to vote since 2013, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Many of those new policies have been aimed specifically at giving more flexibility to people on probation and parole.

Hemp bill heads to Senate despite opposition from Gov. Noem
Rapid City Journal
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 41 other states have legalized hemp. All of South Dakota's neighboring states but Iowa have legalized hemp.

State Revenues In Trump Economy So Strong They're Giving Money Back To Taxpayers
The Daily Caller
Many U.S. states are experiencing thriving economies; more than 40 will meet or exceed revenue expectations, according to a survey from The National Conference of State Legislatures, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

WV college students, faculty sound off over concealed carry on campus
Huntington Herald Dispatch
Ten states allow for concealed carrying on college campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. West Virginia's bill now moves to the Senate for more debate.

South Dakota panel scraps bill to reduce early voting
Brookings Register
The National Conference of State Legislatures says the average beginning point for early voting is 22 days before an election.

"The Talk": Sexual Health and Safety
Iowa State Daily
Only 26 out of the 50 states require sex education be taught in schools, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Because of this, many young adults are left uneducated, confused and unaware about the possible risks surrounding the topic of sex.