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NCSL in the News May 2014

NCSL in the News | May 2014

5/1/2014

May 30

Pennsylvania Tax Plan Cost U.S. $1 Billion for Medicaid
Pennsylvania reaped about $1.1 billion in reduced Medicaid spending from 2009 to 2012 using a tax on health insurers who cover people enrolled in the program. The state reimbursed the insurers for more than 91 percent of the tax by increasing their Medicaid payments. Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia levy similar taxes on hospitals, nursing homes, insurers or other companies in Medicaid, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg
 
Two ways data security could be improved
Several bills before Congress propose national standards for data protection and notification, but legislators will have to reach a consensus on what that means. Until federal standards are developed, consumers should check with the National Conference of State Legislatures to see what their states’ breach-notification laws say. Fox News
 
State plans online claims data, no personal info
As of 2009, 10 states, including Oregon, were operating or developing such all-payer claims databases, according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Today, that number is 18, Morley said. The Fresno Bee
 
Sen. Chase to serve on trade policy oversight committee
Among other things, the committee maintains active communication with the state trade representative's office, the U.S. trade representative's office, Washington's congressional delegation, the National Conference of State Legislatures and any other bodies the committee deems appropriate regarding ongoing developments in international trade agreements and policy. The Herald
 

F.D.A. Announces Stricter Rules on Tanning Beds
Eight states have banned indoor tanning for minors under 18, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. New York Times

Minn. legalizes liquid medical marijuana
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday signed into law a bill legalizing medical marijuana in liquid or pill form for a limited number of residents suffering from severe or fatal illnesses. With Dayton’s signature, Minnesota joins more than 20 states that have approved medical marijuana and cannabis programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Washington Post News Round-Up

Guns could be allowed on Georgia campuses by July
Ever since 2007 when a student at Virginia Tech shot and killed 32 people on campus, gun rights groups have lobbied state governments to allow students to carry guns so they could protect themselves from future incidents. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 such bills were introduced around the country last year. PBS

Minimum Wage Increases Advance From California to Seattle
Thirty-four states are considering increases, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Chicago lawmakers introduced a bill this week to adopt a $15 minimum wage. Bloomberg

Election 2014: Illinois ballot initiatives may reach unprecedented number
Illinois isn’t a heavy hitter on ballot questions that change laws, especially when compared with California and Colorado. But Illinois could stand out for potentially asking so many nonbinding advisory questions, which isn’t as common, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press/RRStar.com

Red, Blue States Find Some Common Ground on Elections Reform
The momentum and partisan cooperation this year have been most evident in online registration efforts. “That is the story this year,” said Wendy Underhill, who follows elections for the National Conference of State Legislatures. More than half the states now have some form of online voter registration or have approved legislation to launch a system, according to an NCSL tally. Stateline and USA Today

May 29

Minnesota governor signs medical marijuana bill into law
With Dayton's signature, Minnesota joins more than 20 U.S. states that have approved medical marijuana and cannabis programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters

Americans divided over same-sex relations and ‘nature vs. nurture’
Seventeen states and the District allow same-sex marriage, and the issue is up for debate in others, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Washington Times

California Senate Approves Boost in Minimum Wage to $13 an Hour
Thirty-four states are considering increases to the minimum wage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg/moneynews.com

Smoooooooklahoma? Activist Sooners petition to legalize medical marijuana
So far, 22 states and the District have allowed medical marijuana programs to take root within their borders, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Washington Times

Keep guns off college campuses (opinion)
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, bills that would allow guns on college and university campuses were introduced in 19 states last year — despite polls showing that students, faculty members, and law enforcement leaders oppose allowing guns on campus, by large margins. The Boston Globe

Health claims database raises privacy issues
As of 2009, 10 states, including Oregon, were operating or developing such all-payer claims databases, according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Today, that number is 18, Morley said. The Oregon Bulletin

Minimum wage: How does Michigan's new law stack up?
So far 34 states also have considered minimum wage increases this year, including seven states and Washington, D.C. that enacted wage increases, according to Jeanne Mejeur of the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Vermont Legislature also passed an increase this session and the governor is expected to sign it, Mejeur said. MichiganLive

House inches toward Sunday hunting
Massachusetts is one of about 11 states that still have hunting restrictions on Sundays, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, all of which were among the original 13 colonies or their territories. Neshoba Publishing

Gov. LePage’s drug fight puts focus on hunting down dealers
States have since adjusted their corrections and sentencing policies. In 2012, the National Conference of State Legislatures found that 24 states had changed their penalties for drug crimes, and more than half of them reduced penalties to divert low-level offenders from prison in favor of community supervision and treatment. Morning Sentinel

May 28

Michigan's Snyder signs bill raising minimum wage
Michigan is the first state with a Republican-led legislature to raise its minimum wage this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota and West Virginia have raised their minimum wages, as well as the District of Columbia. Vermont's legislature has passed an increase but it has yet to be signed by the governor. Associated Press/ Michigan GazetteTime, Boston Herald, The Detroit News

Minimum wage: 5 things to know about the new, gradual raise in Michigan
Some other states that have raised their minimum wages this year are using a similar gradual method, but none will rise as slowly as Michigan's wage. Maryland is increasing from $7.25 to $10.10 by July 2018, and Minnesota will go from $6.15 to $9.50 for large employers and from $5.25 to $7.75 for small employers by August 2016, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/Lansing State Journal 

Competing mental health bills set up partisan showdown

And according to data collected for CNN by the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than half of the nation's legislatures -- those dominated by Republicans -- weighed bills that would have nullified any federal ban on military style assault weapons and limits on large magazines. CNN

Low pay limits who serves in General Assembly
The National Conference of State Legislatures considers North Carolina a blend between a part- and a full-time legislature. Salaries vary widely among statehouses, along with per diem pay, according to NCSL data from April. Some small states, such as Vermont, pay lawmakers only during the legislative session on a weekly basis. Others, such as South Dakota, pay a flat rate per session. WRAL.com

Stay positive college grads, your student loans could (almost) be worse

And according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, most 2013-14 graduates owe $26,500 in student loans. In Pennsylvania, it’s more like $31,675. Philadelphia Business Journal

Cornerstone Hospice and Balmoral observe Floyd Bailey's 100th birthday
The AARP Policy Institute and the National Conference of State Legislatures released on Dec. 2 a report titled Aging in Place: A State Survey on Livability Policies and Practices as a guideline to be followed by local communities. News-Sun 

Nurse Practitioners Could Be Key To Improved Health Care Access
“We urge lawmakers in all states to adopt the national standards for nurse practitioners recommended by the Institute of Medicine, the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures, and adopt the consensus model from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing,” the directors stated in a May 13 news release. Times Record

Don’t expect pols to embrace gas tax hike for bad roads before election
It's the only fuel tax bill that passed this year so far, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Last year, the group notes, six other states and the District of Columbia passed some type of tax increase to help pay for roads. WCF Courier

June 3 primary election coming soon
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, California legislators make more than politicians in any other state. California legislators’ annual salary was cut from $116,208 in 2009 to $95,291 a year plus a per diem of $141.86 every day of session, equaling about $25,000. Michigan rates second, paying its legislators $79,650 a year. Ridgecrest News

May 27

How Gasoline-Use Drop May Raise Taxes in Delaware: Muni Credit
Last year, six states and the District of Columbia enacted legislation overhauling gasoline taxes, according to Jaime Rall, senior policy strategist at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg

Wisconsin looking again at self-insuring state workers
At least 20 states self-insure all state employees and 26 self-insure some workers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Wisconsin State Journal

Hearing near on regulations for UberX, Lyft
Bills failed in Georgia and Maryland state legislatures this year, and another was vetoed in Arizona, said Doug Shinkle, policy expert with the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Columbus Dispatch

Bill to allow Sunday hunting in Massachusetts advances
Massachusetts is one of about 11 states that still have hunting restrictions on Sundays, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, all of which were among the original 13 colonies or their territories. Metro West Daily News

Bill aims to prevent military identity theft
The National Conference of State Legislatures says Illinois and New York already have approved stronger penalties for those knowingly stealing identities of active-duty service members. AP/The Crescent-News

Foul: Legislature's 18-and-under tan ban isn't enough (opinion)
The National Conference of State Legislatures says that five states (including Illinois) ban those under 18 from using tanning beds. At least 38 states and the District of Columbia regulate minors’ use of tanning beds. St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Hawaii: Minimum Wage to Rise
The move makes Hawaii the latest in a string of Democratic-dominated states including California and Maryland to pass or enact legislation raising the minimum wage to at or above the $10 mark, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters/Chicago Tribune

The nation’s last unchallenged state same-sex marriage ban is about to lose that status
In all, 29 state constitutions and four state laws limit marriage to heterosexual couples, according to a list maintained by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Several of those bans have been ruled unconstitutional in federal court, with some same-sex marriages allowed to proceed even as states appeal those decisions. Some same-sex marriage advocates hope to use the state-by-state fight to secure a Supreme Court ruling in their favor. Washington Post Gov. Beat

Will new shooting revive gun policy fight?
And according to data collected for CNN by the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than half of the nation's legislatures --- those dominated by Republicans --- weighed bills that would have nullified any federal ban on military style assault weapons and limits on large magazines. WCVB

Hotdish Politics: For some Minnesota lawmakers, the call of duty can interfere with call to order
Although state legislatures typically boast scores of military veterans, some lawmakers serve both roles at the same time. As many as 63 Reservists served in statehouses bodies across the country in 2010, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported. Star Tribune

Pennsylvania has one of nation's most lax ethics laws for politicians
The Keystone State is one of just 11 states that allow government officials to take personal gifts of unlimited value as long as the item is not intended to influence official action, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. On the other end of the spectrum are nine states that have total gift bans — making them what the NCSL refers to as “no-cup-of-coffee” states. The rest of the states allow gifts but with limits, such as caps on how much an individual donor can give an official over a calendar year. The limits range from $3 per day in Iowa to $500 in Texas, according to NCSL figures. LancasterOnline

Don’t expect Iowa politicians to embrace gas tax before election
It’s the only fuel tax bill that passed this year so far, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Last year, the group notes, six other states and the District of Columbia passed some type of tax increase to help pay for roads. Quad City Times

May 23

Kentucky gets its hemp seeds
Growing hemp without a federal permit was banned in 1970 because of its classification as a controlled substance related to marijuana. But 12 states — California, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia — now have laws to provide for hemp production as described in the farm bill, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. USA Today

Most people have no idea how much debt they’ll need to afford college
And here's the reality: the average college student graduating this year will walk away with $26,500 in student loan debt, according to an estimate from the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Washington Post

Jindal signs tanning bed ban for minors into law
At least five other states have similar prohibitions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/WAFB.com

Hawaii to raise minimum hourly wage to $10.10 by 2018
The move makes Hawaii the latest in a string of Democratic-dominated states including California and Maryland to pass or enact legislation raising the minimum wage to at or above the $10 mark, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters/WTAQ.com

Exclusive: Like New Jersey, most states felt drop in April income taxes
The average revenue forecast called for an increase of just 1.3 percent, according to Arturo Perez, fiscal affairs director at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters

New Minnesota law grants vets temporary licenses
More than 20 states have passed laws authorizing state licensure boards to accept military education, training and experience toward licensure, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Thirty-two states enacted legislation supporting expedited endorsements, access to temporary licenses or both for the majority of licensed occupations. SC Times

National online poker push dropped
Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware have forged ahead, legalizing the practice among players who log in within their state lines. At least eight states have introduced legislation aiming to capture a potential windfall from online games, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nevada Appeal

State lawmakers back execution drug privacy
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Louisiana would join Georgia, Arkansas, South Dakota and Tennessee as states that allow the identity of lethal injection drug makers to be kept secret, if the Senate agrees to the bill. Jennings Daily

Providing option for remote testimony
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, several states already provide remote testimony options for citizens. In fact, lawmakers in Colorado just approved remote testimony for their citizens. Other examples include Nevada and Alaska. Herald.net

May 22

New Minnesota law grants veterans temporary professional certifications so they can work now
More than 20 states have passed laws authorizing state licensure boards to accept military education, training and experience toward licensure, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Thirty-two states enacted legislation supporting expedited endorsements, access to temporary licenses or both for the majority of licensed occupations. AP/The Republic

Casino lobby drops pro-Internet gambling advocacy
At least eight states have introduced legislation aiming to capture a potential windfall from online games, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/The Sacramento Bee

Meet the guy who may take the last unchallenged gay marriage bans to court
Now, 29 state constitutions limit marriage to between a man and a woman while another six impose limits through laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Washington Post/GovBeat

Tax extenders at a standstill — IRS oversight board slams private debt collector plan — New Jersey’s tax shortage
HOLLYWOOD TAX INCENTIVES: LIGHTS OUT? Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Wisconsin have halted their incentive programs or left them without funding in their upcoming budgets, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Politico/The Morning Tax

Protesters return as McDonald's holds annual meeting
Twenty-one states and Washington, D.C. have minimum wages higher than the federal minimum wage, and 38 states have considered minimum wage bills during the 2014 session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Chicago Tribune

Primaries different across country
First of all, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, not all states conduct runoff elections. Only nine states, including Georgia, hold runoff elections for their primaries in the event no candidate reaches a minimum threshold of votes. bryancountynews.net

States Revise Laws to Curb 'Patent Trolls'
Some new state laws allow companies to sue so-called "patent trolls" in state courts, while setting tougher rules around demand letters—such as a requirement for clear evidence that a company has infringed on a patent, rather than vague accusations. In all, patent bills have been introduced or enacted in 26 states, including Alabama, Maryland and Wisconsin, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Wall Street Journal

Ride-sharing service runs into roadblock in NM
New Mexico is one of many states nationwide where Lyft is facing potential regulatory restrictions, but it is among the first to order the company to cease operations, according to Douglas Shinkle of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Albuquerque Journal

Online gambling off to a slow start
Morgan Stanley predicts that by 2020, legal online gambling in the U.S. will generate $8 billion a year. At least eight states have introduced legislation in hopes of capturing the windfall, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press/The Day

Ritchie Stops Issuing Privilege Cards To Lawmakers
The U.S. Constitution and 44 other state constitutions have arrest immunity language. Federal and state courts have given varying interpretations of how far the protection extends, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press/CBS Minnesota

May 21

Deb Peters, Brendan Johnson named '40 under 40'
The Washington Post's "The Fix" blog named U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson and state Sen. Deb Peters as part of its "top 40 political rising stars who are under 40 years old." Peters, 39, was noted for chairing the Legislature's Appropriations Committee and being active in the National Conference of State Legislatures, "where she has earned high marks." Argus Leader  

Corporate inversions bill lacks leaders’ backing — Tax extenders: A new hope? — Camp: We need permanent tax policies
E-CIG TAX UPDATES. NJ & NC aren’t the only states considering the issue. National Conference of State Legislatures’ Karmen Hanson tells Morning Tax that for the 2013-2014 sessions there are seven states — Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon, Oklahoma, and Hawaii, along with NJ & NC — looking at tax proposals on e-cigarettes. Politico

Secretary of state to stop issuing Minnesota lawmakers cards that appeared to offer immunity
Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said Wednesday he will no longer issue cards that appeared to give lawmakers immunity from being arrested for drunken driving or other crimes during a legislative session, saying his office isn't bound by statute to distribute them. The U.S. Constitution and 44 other state constitutions have arrest immunity language. Federal and state courts have given varying interpretations of how far the protection extends, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/Minneapolis Star Tribune

[NM] State regulators order Lyft to stop operating 
Colorado's attempt at regulation is the first to come out of a state legislature, according to research from the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/Las Cruces Sun

Hollywood showdown: Lawmakers threaten industry’s tax breaks
Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Wisconsin have halted their incentive programs or left them without funding in their upcoming budgets, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The State

McDonald's workers protest low wages as shareholders weigh executive pay
Washington, D.C. and 21 states have minimum wages higher than the federal level, and 38 states have considered minimum wage bills during the 2014 session, the National Conference of State Legislatures said. Reuters

Louisiana Senators refuse to allow unpasteurized milk sale
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 30 states allow people to buy raw milk. Shreveport Times

Two to challenge Island lawmakers
[State Representative Tana] Senn was on her way to a seminar on early learning in Denver when she sat down with the Reporter to talk about her first term as a state Legislator and the campaign ahead. Senn was selected as one of 20 legislators across the country to take part in the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) Early Learning Fellows Program. Her appointment to the program follows on her success in passing her first piece of legislation signed into law. ESHB 2519 helps kids in the child welfare system access quality early learning programs. Mercer Island Reporter Editor

New bill fights for research and development of industrial hemp
Twelve states now have laws that allow for hemp production, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. WDEL

States Continue Banning Employer Access to Social Media
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Louisiana is just one of 28 states considering laws on the issue this year. Maine and Wisconsin have already enacted social media privacy protection legislation in 2014. Government Technology

Catholic Schools ‘Aren’t the Only Game in Town Anymore’
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 27 states, including Washington D.C., provide some form of public assistance for parents eager to place their children in private schools. National Catholic Register

Opinion piece: Rural EMS services at risk for shutting down across the country
EMS services are not federally mandated, nor is there long-term federal funding. The same is true for most states. How critical is the situation? How badly would rural towns suffer without reliable emergency services? In many cases, it could mean the difference between life and death, according to a report entitled “Emergency Medical Services in Rural America” produced by the National Conference of State Legislatures in April 2007. Pine Bluff Post

Ohio Poised to Break From U.S. States’ Push for Renewable Energy
The U.S. states with renewable standards have adopted or increased them since 1983 to diversify their energy mix, promote economic development and reduce emissions, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg Businessweek

State-by-state: A frenzied few months on the same-sex marriage front
Seven more states allowed civil unions between same-sex couples at that point in time, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, though six of those also had laws against gay marriage. CNN

‘Revenge porn’ bill OK’d by R.I. Senate
There are several states with laws against “revenge porn” and bills were submitted in at least 27 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Providence Journal

La. House passes bill that would make information on execution drug suppliers confidential
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Louisiana would join Georgia, Arkansas, South Dakota and Tennessee as states that allow the identity of lethal injection drug makers to be kept secret, if the Senate agrees to the bill. Associated Press/The Republic

St. Louis doctor's crusade finally ends with tanning bed bill
Currently, California, Illinois, Nevada, Texas and Vermont ban anyone under 18 from using tanning beds, and at least 38 states and the District of Columbia regulate minors’ use of tanning beds, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. St. Louis Post Dispatch

May 20

State lawmaker pay: Too much or not enough?
Lawmakers' salaries vary widely across the states, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. One major factor is whether the job is full-time or only part-time. Just 10 states have legislatures considered full-time or nearly full-time, according to NCSL. A handful of states don't even hold annual sessions. But for all the political outrage and populist fervor surrounding legislative pay, some say that denigrating legislators as fat cats and keeping their pay low can backfire by making it more difficult those who aren't wealthy to serve in government. "If you have a wage that's so low that all members of the public can't run for the state legislature and serve, then I think you have a problem," said Morgan Cullen, who tracks the issue for NCSL. "It's very difficult for lawmakers to go through the legislative process and introduce a bill giving themselves a raise." Stateline/USA Today

Lou Cannon: Partisan Politics Overshadows Genuine Voter ID Reforms
State and federal courts have slowed the steady march of the states toward sterner standards of voter identification. It’s too early, however, said Wendy Underhill of the National Conference of State Legislatures, to determine if these decisions represent a legal trend or to know their possible impact on future legislative actions. Tim Storey, a political analyst with NCSL, suggests that advocates and critics of voter ID tend to become captives of their rhetoric instead of relying on objective analysis. Storey said both parties typically view any proposed electoral reform “through the prism of partisan advantage.” State New Capitol Journal/noozhawk.com

Rules for Uber, Lyft to become law in Colorado
But Colorado's attempt at regulation is the first to come out of a state legislature, according to research from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bills in Georgia and Maryland also failed this year, while legislation in Illinois and Oklahoma is pending, said Douglas Shinkle, who has been tracking the issue for NCSL. The District of Columbia adopted emergency rules last year, and state regulators in Nebraska and Rhode Island are discussing what they should do about the companies, Shinkle said. AP/The Denver Post

Rules regulating Uber, Lyft to become law in Colorado
A handful of state legislatures this year have tried and failed to pass bills to provide oversight for the so-called ridesharing companies... But Colorado's attempt at regulation is the first to come out of a state legislature, according to research from the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/Fox News

State Lawmakers Throttle Back on 'Parent Trigger'
In 2010, California became the first state to pass a law allowing parents to spark a transformation of a low-performing school.  In addition, Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, and Texas have passed some version of that option, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Education Week

How do Louisiana Lawmakers' pay and duties compare to those in other states? 
Louisiana Legislature is in 'middle of the pack' when it comes to time on the job. The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates Louisiana lawmakers spend the equivalent of about two thirds of a full time job on their legislative work. The Times-Picayune

States Forge Ahead on Principal Evaluation
Since 2010, at least 36 states have adopted laws requiring principals to undergo regular assessments and increasing the rigor of those reviews, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Education Week

Judge rules against last Northeastern state with same-sex marriage ban
According to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures, if Pennsylvania doesn’t appeal the decision, all Northeastern states will now have legalized same-sex marriages in various ways. Constitution Daily

Rogue Valley voters to decide on GMOs
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that 84 genetically modified food labeling bills are pending in 30 states. The Register-Guard

States take on immigration
The two states joined 19 others that offer in-state tuition — rates significantly lower than those of out-of-state students, which immigrants here illegally would otherwise have to pay — for undocumented immigrants at some, or all, of their public colleges and universities, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Politico

Pay for State Lawmakers Varies Widely
Lawmakers’ salaries vary widely across the states, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. One major factor is whether the job is full-time or only part-time. Just 10 states have legislatures considered full-time or nearly full-time, according to NCSL. A handful of states don’t even hold annual sessions. Stateline and Huffington Post and Governing

Vermont Is First State to Pass a GMO Labeling Law
The Burlington (Vt.) Free Press, quoting the National Conference of State Legislatures, reported there are 84 bills on GMO labeling pending in 29 states, as well as bills in Congress. The Free Press also reported that earlier this year, Maine and Connecticut passed labeling requirements contingent on a “trigger” mechanism: The requirements won’t take effect unless several neighboring states take the same step. And ballot initiatives are being pushed this year in Oregon, Colorado and Arizona. Food Processing

Lawmaker pushes for new execution method
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Georgia, Arkansas, South Dakota and Tennessee have passed bills that would make drugmakers’ identity confidential. Newsstar

Copper on Maine’s State House dome may become art pieces or souvenirs
Maine’s State House is one of nine state capitols with a copper dome, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Morning Sentinel

May 19

Longest serving state House speakers in the nation
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, South Carolina's Solomon Blatt is the longest known speaker, serving a total of 33 years. He was speaker from 1937-46 and 1951-73. Georgia's Tom Murphy also served about three decades as House speaker, from 1973 until 2002. "We simply do not know for certain that there were not longer serving speakers in the 1700s and 1800s," said Tim Storey, an NCSL researcher. "It is very unlikely that there were, because legislators and leaders did not generally serve nearly as long then as they do today." AP/San Jose Mercury News

Experts: Online Gambling Slowed by Illegal Action
Morgan Stanley predicts that by 2020, legal online gambling in the U.S. will generate $8 billion a year. At least eight states have introduced legislation in hopes of capturing the windfall, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/ABC News

New Jersey bicyclists could get 3 foot buffer zone from cars
The National Conference of State Legislatures said that 33 states had similar laws on their books as of this January, and the vast majority of them have three-foot passing laws. newsworks.org

Battle Over Genetically Modified Foods in Oregon
This month, Vermont's governor signed a law to make the state the first requiring disclosure of GMO ingredients in food labels, starting in 2016. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports 84 genetically modified food labeling bills are pending in 30 states. Associated Press/ABC News

Dave Agema, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley to tout part-time Michigan Legislature
Michigan is one of four states with a true full-time Legislature, and lawmakers here earn a base salary of $71,685 per year. Another six states are near full-time, requiring lawmakers to work at least 80 percent of a full-time job, and roughly half the states have "hybrid" legislatures, where lawmakers do about two-thirds the work of a full-time job but earn less, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Minnesota Live

MT Student Loan Debt Lower Than National Average
More than one million Americans this year will graduate with substantial student loan debt. Numbers from the government group, the National Conference of State Legislatures show graduates will have an average of  $26,500 in student loans. The NCSL numbers show the average student loan debt for Montana students falls below the national average. ABC Fox Montana

SD school districts haven’t armed staff
In the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, at least 33 states presented 80 bills last year to authorize arming teacher or administrators, the National Conference of State Legislatures said. Associated Press/Capital Journal

Consider 4-day school week carefully
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the school districts around the country that are adopting shortened weeks are usually small, rural districts. With so many of those districts districts in North Dakota, it is likely we will see more than two school districts shortening their weeks in the future. Bismark Tribune

Medical marijuana approved by Minnesota legislature for some cases
More than 20 states have approved medical-marijuana and cannabis programs, the National Conference of State Legislatures said. Columbus Dispatch

Editorial: State must let consumers know when foods contain genetically modified organisms
Massachusetts legislators should look to the recent approval in Vermont and join it in being a leader on the issue. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 29 states are considering 84 bills dealing with GMO labeling. Connecticut and Maine also have approved laws requiring labels, but only after other states approve similar legislation. Gazette News

Over 15 percent of Wyoming legislators sponsored no bills
“I think different legislators take different approaches to their job,” said Karl Kurtz, political scientist for the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures, which provides training to Wyoming lawmakers to help them be effective in their work. “There are plenty of legislators who think the fewer bills they pass the better. That would in fact be a pretty strong feeling in the Wyoming Legislature, which is pretty conservative, of course.” Star Tribune

May 16

Missouri seeks to limit arrest photo websites
Missouri lawmakers gave final approval Friday to legislation taking aim at websites that charge for taking down police booking photos and other information about arrests. More than a dozen states this year have considered bill dealing with booking photo websites, and the National Conference of State Legislatures reports that new laws have been enacted in more than a half-dozen states in 2013 and 2014. KMBC.com

Kentucky's Hemp Seed Lawsuit Could Affect Colorado's Aspiring Growers
The state is suing the Drug Enforcement Agency over a shipment of hemp seed. With Colorado farmers currently exploring their options with the plant, a final decision in the case could have implications here too. Twelve states, including California, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia, currently have laws on the books to allow for hemp production as it’s described by the most recent farm bill, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. KUNC.org

West Michigan school officials react to lawmakers efforts to ban sale of e-cigarettes to minors
West Michigan school officials are encouraged that the Michigan Legislature is taking steps to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, to those younger than 18, as well as their use. In the meantime, at least 34 states have prohibited the sale of electronic cigarettes or vaping or alternative tobacco products to minors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. mlive.com

Undocumented immigrants face higher tuition at some schools
Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, has introduced a bill to offer in-state tuition to children of undocumented workers who entered the U.S. with their families as children. Seventeen states have approved similar measures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Arizona, Georgia and Indiana prohibit the practice. Grand Rapids Business Journal

'When Nurture Calls' Campaign Depicts Mothers Breastfeeding In Filthy Bathrooms In Effort To Combat Feeding Stigma
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only five states and Puerto Rico have implemented or encouraged the development of a breastfeeding awareness education campaign; they are:  California, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, and Vermont. Overall though, almost every state (45 to be exact) allows women to breastfeed in public. Medical Daily

Minnesota lawmakers reach deal to legalize medicinal marijuana
One sign of the difficulty advocates had in winning over lawmakers is that Minnesota is the only state to explicitly ban smoking of medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Other states simply don't include smoking among approved methods for delivering the drug. THOnline.com

http://www.thonline.com/news/national_world/article_952ed855-18be-51d3-8216-f62b0e8f967c.html

R.I. Senate committee passes bill banning talking on hand-held cellphones while driving
If passed by both chambers and supported by Governor Chafee, it would make Rhode Island the 13th state to ban hand-held cellphones while driving, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. It would also add to Rhode Island laws that ban texting while driving and ban minors and bus drivers from using cellphones while driving. Providence Journal

Local View: Fix our broken child support system
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “Research has found that parents are more likely to make consistent payments when the child support amount is 20 percent of earnings or less. Research shows that low earning noncustodial parents are often simply not able to pay the ordered level of child support, especially when the order is set too high relative to earnings.” In the author’s experience, Nebraska child-support awards average 28 percent to 33 percent of net earnings. Journal Star

May 15

Oregon activists announce GMO labeling campaign
There are currently 85 bills on GMO labeling in 30 states, with more than half introduced this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as well as dueling bills in Congress. News & Observer

What College Didn’t Teach You: 5 Money Lessons for 2014 Graduates 
3. Pay off student loans. Student debt continues to spiral, and many will graduate with tens of thousands of dollars in loans or grants. The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates 60 percent of this year’s graduates (more than 1 million) will leave school owing an average of $26,500 in student loans. US News & World Report

Editorial: Tenth anniversary of landmark moment for gays in Massachusetts cause for celebration
As of today, the National Conference of State Legislatures counts 17 states and Washington, D.C., where same-sex marriage is legal: Six (including Massachusetts) were decided by court decision; eight through legislative acts; and three by popular vote. Three more allow civil unions for same-sex partners. Of the 33 states that do not allow same-sex marriage, the National Conference of State Legislatures notes 29 have constitutional provisions that require popular votes, usually alongside legislative action. masslive.com

Guns Allowed All Over—Except Near Politicians
At least 12 states allow citizens to bring firearms into capitol buildings, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg Businessweek

The Plots to Destroy America
Conspiracy theories have been woven into the fabric of American society since before the signing of the Constitution... Experts say the number and significance of conspiracy theories are reaching levels unheard-of in recent times, in part because of ubiquitous and faster communications offered by Internet chat rooms, Twitter and other social media... “The reason we should worry about conspiracy theories and misinformation is that they distort the debate that is crucial to democracy,’’ says Brendan Nyhan, an assistant professor in Dartmouth’s government department who has conducted research on conspiracy theories. “They divert attention from the real issue and issues of concern that public officials should be debating.” That is what has happened with the issue known as Common Core standards in public education... So is Common Core a worthwhile nationwide undertaking? America might never know. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about half of the more than 200 bills about Common Core filed by legislators around the country would slow or stop the adoption of its standards. Newsweek

Meet The High School Student Who Took Down A State Lawmaker
Saira Blair has been busy this week. She's president of the Key Club at Hedgesville High School in West Virginia, and she's been participating in a variety of activities as her class prepares to graduate next week. Oh — and on Tuesday, she won a primary election for the state House. Fewer than half the states allow 17-year-olds to vote if they'll be 18 on Election Day in November, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Only 18 states allow citizens to run for state office before turning 21. (Blair turns 18 in July.) NPR.org

Ark. court vacates ruling striking down voter ID law (blog)
The Arkansas Supreme Court on Wednesday threw out a lower court's decision that found the state's voter identification law unconstitutional. The National Conference of State Legislatures rates Arkansas's law as one of the strictest in the nation among the 31 active laws in the country. The Hill

U.S. fast-food workers plan to walk off jobs to protest low pay
Twenty-one states and Washington, D.C. have minimum wages higher than the federal minimum wage, and 38 states have considered minimum wage bills during the 2014 session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The state of Washington has the highest minimum wage, at $9.32 an hour. Reuters

Students Paying Bigger Share of Public College Costs
While it’s too early for definitive nationwide numbers for the upcoming fiscal year, anecdotal reports from individual states indicate higher education funding will continue to rebound from recessionary lows, said Dustin Weeden, a policy specialist with the National Conference on State Legislatures. Stateline

Oklahoma Watch: Oklahoma Faces Revenue Slump
Oklahoma is one of only seven states in the nation where revenues available for appropriation are falling below expectations despite growth in the broader economy, according to a newly released survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Oklahoma News 6

Most state budgets on track for FY2014
A majority of states will meet their budgetary goals for FY2014, according to a report released by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). American City and County

California bill to ban plastic bags advances
California, Massachusetts and Washington have considered statewide plastic bag bans this year to protect water and parks from a buildup of litter, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.  Bellingham Herald

NC court frees taxpayer money to private schools
More than a dozen states had tuition tax credit programs as of last year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press/Miami Herald

Petition aims to raise Nebraska's hourly minimum wage to $9 by 2016
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 states and the District of Columbia have minimum wages higher than Nebraska’s now. Among them are two of Nebraska’s neighbors — Colorado and Missouri. Omaha Herald

Doctor: NM’s child abuse problem ‘absolutely’ preventable
At least 27 other states are using at least some version of alternative response to reduce the instance of child abuse, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. KRQE- Albuquerque 

May 14

Bill to allow early voting, online registration passes Mass. House
Early voting is already available to residents in 33 states and Washington, D.C., according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Boston Globe

NC court frees taxpayer money to private schools
More than a dozen states had tuition tax credit programs as of last year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/Miami Herald

Give us our seeds: Ky. sues DEA to get its hemp
Kentucky's Agriculture Department filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking release of imported hemp seeds that the federal government has detained. Twelve states — California, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia — now have laws to provide for hemp production as described in the farm bill, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. USA Today

Want to Know If Your Food Is Genetically Modified?
There are currently 84 bills on GMO labeling in 29 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as well as dueling bills in Congress. The Atlantic

States Tightening Loopholes in School Vaccine Laws
Laws at a Glance: While all states have school vaccination laws on the books, states vary on how much leeway parents have to opt their children out of required vaccinations. 50 states require specified vaccines for students, but allow exemptions for medical reasons. 48 states grant exemptions for people who have religious beliefs against immunizations. (Mississippi and West Virginia do not allow this exemption.) 19 states allow exemptions for those who object to immunizations for personal or moral beliefs. SOURCE: National Conference of State Legislatures. Education Week

Minimum wage debate: What supporters, opponents say about effects of raising the minimum wage
Polls conducted by New York and national pollsters usually show strong public support for raising the minimum wage. A Pew Research Center survey released in January found 73 percent of respondents back increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, five states and the District of Columbia enacted minimum wage hikes this year. As of Jan. 1, 21 states and the District of Columbia have minimum wage rates higher than the federal level. Sioux City Journal

Compromise at Capitol on e-cigarette regulations 
Minnesota lawmakers divided over how strictly to regulate electronic cigarettes settled on a bill that would keep them out of government buildings and schools but allow them in bars and restaurants. The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 34 states have taken that step and offers a rundown of state regulations. bringmethenews.com

Film incentive hangs in balance as legislative session gets underway 
As of this year, 39 states offer some form of film incentive, though in recent years, seven—Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Wisconsin—have recently ended their incentive programs or not provided funding for them in their budgets, according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. “As the number of states offering film incentives has grown, so too have the debates surrounding the benefits and economic impacts of these programs,” the report states. Port City (NC) Daily 

Governor gets bill making 17-year-olds juveniles in criminal system
Seventeen-year-olds will not be tried as adults if Gov. Maggie Hassan agrees with lawmakers. New Hampshire is one of 10 states that sets the maximum age for juvenile court jurisdiction at 16, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. New Hampshire Union Leader

Florida Could Soon Have a New CIO 
Legislation to establish the Agency for State Technology heads to Gov. Rick Scott for signature. Florida is the only state without a CIO to oversee an estimated $733 million a year in IT spending, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. statetechmagazine.com

Legislators pass bill to bar employers from demanding social media access
Legislation that would bar employers and schools from demanding access to social media, personal email and other online accounts received final legislative approval Tuesday. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, state lawmakers across the country started introducing similar legislation in 2012. Baton Rouge Advocate

I-Team: Life-saving carbon monoxide detectors not required in Illinois schools
According to the "National Conference of State Legislatures" right now only four states in the country require carbon monoxide detectors in schools. None of those are in the Midwest, but that could soon change. ABC Chicago

Declining Corporate Tax Collections Biggest Contributor To Oklahoma’s Revenue Slump
Oklahoma is one of only seven states in the nation where revenues available for appropriation are falling below expectations despite growth in the broader economy, according to a newly released survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures. KGOU-NPR

Lack of rules, oversight leave consumers in dark over genetically modified foods
The state efforts aren’t slowing down. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are 85 pending GMO labeling bills in 29 states. NewsJournal.com/Associated Press

May 13

Medical marijuana stare-down: the issues that divide Dayton, House and Senate
Minnesota could become the first state to permit use of marijuana for medical purposes while not allowing patients to smoke it — setting it apart from the District of Columbia and 21 other states that have already legalized medical marijuana. Each state with legal medical marijuana treats distribution centers differently, said Karmen Hanson, a program manager with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Some calculate the number of dispensaries by population density or by county, while some allow for homegrown options if patients are too far from a dispensary. Rhode Island allows for six dispensaries, despite being one-seventieth of the size of Minnesota. “Looking at ratio of population-to-dispensary, the one with three satellite locations would seem low compared to other programs out there,” Hanson said. “That’s purely by the numbers. Each state is unique in how it handles its program based on the need.” minnpost.com

Voter ID Appeal, What's Next With Wisconsin's Law?
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports three states, where lawmakers have passed some form of legislation, are currently not enforced because of court action. WBAY

Film incentives' fate going down to the wire
The legislative session opens at noon Wednesday in Raleigh, and one of the major issues with local impact that lawmakers will consider in the weeks ahead is whether to extend the state's film incentives package. Nationwide, 39 states have film incentives of their books, a number that has grown significantly since the early 2000s, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. starnewsonline.com

E-Retail Faces Patchwork of State Sales-Tax Laws
States generate about 32% of their revenue from sales taxes, which are dwindling as more retail activity gravitates online, making the burgeoning e-commerce market an irresistible target, said Max Behlke, manager of state-federal relations for the National Conference of State Legislatures. “When you’re not able to collect your largest revenue stream and it’s evaporating, that’s a problem,” he said. “That’s why there needs to be a federal solution.…States are going to keep finding different ways to collect this.” Wall Street Journal

Home Base Iowa bill meant to make Iowa competitive
The National Conference of State Legislatures says more than 20 states have passed laws authorizing state licensure boards to accept military education, training and experience toward licensure. Thirty-two states enacted legislation supporting expedited endorsements, access to temporary licenses or both for the majority of licensed occupations, and 20 states waive the first year residency requirement for new veterans for the purposes of in-state tuition at state-run universities. Times Republican 

May 12

GOVERNING OR POLITICKING? Despite law, line can get blurred
It’s an immutable fact of political life: Elected officials will use their office to further their politics. But while it is against the law for an official’s staff to use government time to campaign for their boss, where exactly is the line that separates governing from electioneering? “You can get around a lot of this stuff, if that’s your intent,” said Peggy Kerns, director of the Center for Ethics in Government at the National Conference of State Legislatures, a Washington-based champion of state lawmaking bodies. “There would be some concern about something like that, I would think. There’s the law and then there’s the spirit of the law, too, both of which have to be adhered to.” Daily Record

Measure barring minors from e-cigarette purchases sent to Missouri governor
Only Minnesota has a specific tax on e-cigarettes and other states including New Jersey, Washington and Utah have considered a specific tax, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Credit scores: Passports to money
Several states have passed laws prohibiting employers from pulling credit reports. To find out if your state is among them, visit the website of the National Conference of State Legislatures. CNBC.com

Where do the elite meet? Behind closed doors
Similar events occur across the political spectrum giving powerful people with deep pockets face-to-face exchanges with national and state leaders that the average American cannot match. Rapaport, of Common Cause, said open sessions — like meetings of the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures — don't have to prevent candor. AP/The Kansas City StarUS News & World Report and PBS

Gov. LePage’s drug fight puts focus on hunting down dealers 
Federal funding has diminished over the years, as state and federal policymakers have shifted their emphasis from prosecution to prevention and treatment. The shift reflects research findings that harsher penalties for drug offenses have increased the cost of jailing offenders without reducing rates of drug use. In 2012, the National Conference of State Legislatures found that 24 states had changed their penalties for drug crimes, and more than half of them reduced penalties to divert low-level offenders from prison in favor of community supervision and treatment. At the same time, many states are increasing penalties for drug trafficking, a path that LePage said he is willing to explore. kjonline.com

North Dakota Districts to Switch to Four-Day Week
Nationwide, at least 120 school districts in 21 states operate on a four-day week, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Education Week

Genetically modified foods confuse consumers
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are 85 pending GMO labeling bills in 29 states. AP/delawareonline.com

Tanning bed ban for minors headed to Jindal's desk 
At least five other states ban the use of tanning beds for minors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/WWLTV.com

Some say heroin rescue drug is a lifesaver, others predict increase in overdoses
In the United States, 23 states and the District of Columbia, have Immunity laws related to prescribing and administering of overdose reverse drugs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, NCSL. WMAR Baltimore

Could Credit Card and Auto Loans Equal Student Loan Debt?
A headline-in-the making could be that student loan debt will eventually surpass credit card debt and auto loan debt. It's among the findings that can be gleaned from The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) report on student loans, released on May 1. mainstreet.com

Suit Seeks To Bar Washington State From Collecting Marijuana Taxes
A federal lawsuit filed last Thursday challenges Washington State’s ability to tax Marijuana sales given the drug’s illegal status under federal law. More than 20 US states have approved Medical Marijuana on a broad basis, and others on a narrower basis, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Live Trading News

Home Base Iowa bill meant to make Iowa competitive
The National Conference of State Legislatures says more than 20 states have passed laws authorizing state licensure boards to accept military education, training and experience toward licensure. Thirty-two states enacted legislation supporting expedited endorsements, access to temporary licenses or both for the majority of licensed occupations, and 20 states waive the first year residency requirement for new veterans for the purposes of in-state tuition at state-run universities. Associated Press/Houston Chronicle

Home Base Iowa bill aims to attract armed forces veterans
The National Conference of State Legislatures says more than 20 states have passed laws authorizing state licensure boards to accept military education, training and experience toward licensure. Associated Press/Globe Gazette

Florida among states whose lawmakers didn't boost minimum wage
In Florida, companion bills to raise the state’s minimum wage in the Florida House and Senate died after never being taken up in legislative committee. Nearly 40 states considered minimum wage bills during 2014, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. NaplesNews.com

Teachers predicted to face unstable territory in job market
Daniel Thatcher, a senior policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said that for many school districts, increases in state aid, which makes up an average of about 46 percent of school district revenue, have not kept pace with inflation, student enrollment growth and other expenses. “We know that there is a recovery happening,” Thatcher said. “It’s not a fantastic recovery. What we have seen is that the increases to state aid have not been sufficient to make up for the lost ground since the beginning of the recession.” St Augustine Record/Stateline

Minnesota House advances medical marijuana study bill
More than 20 U.S. states have approved medical marijuana on a broad basis and others on a narrower basis, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuter/Chicago Tribune

GOP caught between tax cuts and teacher pay
The Republican mantra in North Carolina has been that tax cuts that benefit mostly the wealthy and corporations will make the state more competitive. But that hardly seems the case five months after the tax cuts took effect. North Carolina is one of only seven states where revenues are growing slower than expected, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Thirty four states are on target to meet their revenue projections and nine are enjoying surpluses. News Observer

States target bad faith over patent claims
Since Vermont enacted a law in 2013 similar to what awaits Gov. Jay Nixon's decision in Missouri, state capitals increasingly have waded into the issue. In all, nine states now have enacted laws, said the National Conference of State Legislatures, and lawmakers have passed bills in four states other than Missouri. Associated Press/Columbia Tribune

State hopes to avoid trouble on Capitol remodel
And other states across the nation routinely run over budget and behind schedule when they undergo a major renovation of their state capitol, said Kae Warnock, a policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures, who advises states on their capitol renovation projects. “Because capitols look so pretty and solid, there is this perception they will last forever,” she said. “So states will often delay or defer maintenance on them, and when they do renovate them, they can find all sorts of problems when they start digging into the walls. Wyoming News 

May 9

States try to tamp down e-cigarettes
States and local communities aren't waiting for the federal government to establish rules for electronic cigarettes, enacting their own laws to regulate, restrict and tax the increasingly ubiquitous battery-powered inhalers. "This is a huge issue," said Karmen Hanson, program manager for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "With the absence of [federal] regulations on e-cigarette … products, states have done what they feel is best for their citizens right now." Washington Examiner

Wash. domestic partners automatically getting hitched
Six states in addition to Washington — California, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon and Wisconsin — and the District of Columbia also have domestic partnership laws, which give some rights within a state to couples who aren't married, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. USA Today

SPECIAL REPORT: More People Added to Food Stamps Than Jobs
Over the past decade, Illinois added 100 people to food stamps for every job it created. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 10 states have passed legislation regarding drug testing or screening for people applying for public assistance. WICS

Seven states are expected to miss their budget forecasts this year
All but seven states are expected to meet or beat budget forecasts by the time this fiscal year is over, according to a survey of state legislative fiscal officers in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. And while spending is over budget in 22 states, the overspending is modest. Some 34 states are expected to meet their revenue forecasts, while another nine are expected to beat them, the National Conference on State Legislatures reports. Washington Post Gov Beat

SPECIAL REPORT: More People Added To Food Stamps Than Jobs
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, ten states have passed legislation regarding drug testing or screening for people applying for public assistance. WICS

Genetically modified foods confuse consumers
The state efforts aren't slowing down. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are 85 pending GMO labeling bills in 29 states. In Congress, the food industry is pushing a House bill that would head off efforts to enact mandatory labeling of genetically modified ingredients by proposing new voluntary labels nationwide — an attempted end run around the state-by-state laws. NWITimes 

May 8

U.S. states finally on solid financial ground
The era of rocky uncertainty for U.S. state budgets has passed, and most states experienced budget stability for the better part of the current fiscal year, a report released by the National Conference of State Legislatures on Thursday shows. Reuters/msn.com

The Problem with Low-Emission Cars: Collecting Gas Revenue 
Incentives in at least 39 states and the District of Columbia encourage EV and hybrid use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In Oregon, the idea will get an unprecedented tryout next year when 5,000 volunteers agree to pay 1.5 cents per mile driven in lieu of the tax at the pump. Republican state Sen. Bruce Starr, a leading proponent of the plan, said he doesn’t criticize other states that seek fairness by taxing clean vehicles. But he added, “From my perspective it doesn’t get to the point. People ought to pay for the roads they use in a way that’s fair, so no matter what you use to make your car move down the road, you’re going to pay basically the same amount.” Governing

Could pot push voters to the polls this fall?
Medical marijuana is legal in 21 states and the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. This year, 18 state governments had measures dealing with legalizing marijuana for recreational use, according to National Conference of State Legislatures. Some 15 states considered whether to create new medical marijuana laws, 14 weighed creating new medical marijuana programs and 14 considered decriminalizing marijuana, according to an analysis of current state marijuana legislation efforts performed by the National Conference of State Legislatures for CNN. CNN

New push launched to end partisan redistricting
Two days after primary elections that left many N.C. voters with no choice in November, two prominent former mayors launched a new effort to end partisan redistricting. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 states now have a redistricting commission that either draws a plan, advises the legislature on drawing one or otherwise serves as a backup. Charlotte Observer

Ohio bill aims to help veterans with college, jobs
The bill passed overwhelmingly by the House and headed to the Senate would provide more uniform standards for the awarding of credit for military experience by public colleges and by state boards issuing occupational licenses and certifications. It is similar to other states' laws that began to emerge following reports of high unemployment among the growing number of post 9/11 veterans. Those veterans sometimes have long delays in getting civilian jobs even with transferable military-acquired skills and training, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The conference of state legislatures says 26 states have passed legislation directing colleges and universities to adopt policies for recognizing military-acquired skills and learning, and 45 have enacted legislation directing licensing boards to accept military experience in professions such as medicine and truck driving. Akron Legal News

House version of medical marijuana bill favored by Minnesota Medical Association
Twenty-one states plus the District of Columbia already have comprehensive medical marijuana programs, said Karmen Hanson, who tracks the issue for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Pioneer Press

Burwell gets Senate praise in nomination for new position
Senators heaped praise upon Sylvia Mathews Burwell, President Obama's nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services, even as Republican politicians blasted the Affordable Care Act... Wednesday, insurers said in a House hearing that between 80 and 90% of people had paid their first month's premiums. "With regards to the specific data HHS has, I'm not privy to this knowledge in my current role," Burwell said. But she said insurers have not given final numbers to the administration. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said premiums had doubled in her state, and that a low number of people signed up for insurance through the exchanges. Alaska has some of the highest premium prices in the country, as they did before the new health law was enacted, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Federal Times

Online sales taxes: The 'loophole' may be closed soon
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), states lose $23 billion each year because Internet sales are not taxed (five states do not charge sales tax: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon). Here's how the NCSL said it affected New Jersey and New York in 2012: * $413.4 million in estimated sales tax lost revenue for New Jersey. * $1.767 billion in estimated sales task lost revenue for New York. Modern Tire Dealer

L’anglais du troisième sexe : « Ze went to hir bedroom
Selon la National conference of state legislatures (la conférence des assemblées locales), une douzaine d’Etats ont entrepris de d’éliminer tout biais linguistique de leurs textes. On ne dit plus « chairman » (président) mais chairperson (roughly translated, NCSL found around 12 states that eliminate sexist language such as changing “chairman” to “chairperson”). Le Monde

Map: Where the average student loan burden is largest
More than a million Americans this year will graduate with substantial student loan debt, the National Conference of State Legislatures recently reported. The graduates will have an average of $26,500 in student loans, joining the tens of millions of other adults who collectively hold more than $1 trillion in student loan debt. That burden is largest, on average, in many Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states, a few Southeastern states and California. Washington Post Gov Beat

Pennsylvania will consider Internet gambling
Meanwhile, legislation to legalize online gambling has been introduced in at least eight states, including Pennsylvania, according to information from the National Conference on State Legislatures. Associated Press/Atlantic City Press

McCrory: Teachers would get 2 percent raise under plan
Lawmakers in states including Mississippi, Florida and West Virginia have recently discussed boosting teacher pay. “(It’s) definitely a point of conversation as states are finding themselves in a little better budget situation,” said Michelle Exstrom, education program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Greensboro News & Record

California trying GPS-tracking mileage tax for 2016
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 18 states have tried VMT pilot programs in the past. Last year, VMT legislation was introduced in at least eight states in an effort to make up for transportation funding that some say is being lost because of the more fuel-efficient new vehicles people are now driving. "The amount of revenue 'lost' is tough to calculate," Jaime Rall, a senior policy specialist at NCSL, told MSN Autos in an email. "There are many variables, including state gas-tax rates, how many fuel-efficient vehicles are being driven in each state, how much they’re being driven, what vehicles they’re replacing and so on." MSN Autos

Carol Anne Costa: The Senate Cannot Hide from Reality
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures Rhode Island is one of only 15 states remaining with straight party voting, and that is a reality. GoLocalProv.com

May 7

Some Common Core foes go too far, says Southern Poverty Law Center report
States that have adopted “common standards” were given preference for receiving federal Race to the Top Phase I grants as well as $350 million in federal money to ease costs of assessing the Common Core, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Minneapolis Star Tribune

Gun Bans in Capitols But Not Bars Draw Cries of Hypocrisy 
At least 12 states allow citizens to bring firearms into capitol buildings, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg

Judge hears challenges to Nevada voter ID measure 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 34 states have passed laws requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls. AP/WWLTV

Where there's no smoke, there's fire
Karmen Hanson, a researcher with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said in regards to the spread of e-cigarette-related laws, many states are beginning to go beyond their initial questions and exploring how to tax the products, if they apply to current clean-air  laws, and regulating online sales. The Daily Iowan

Oregon woman wants ‘revenge porn’ criminalized
On the National Conference of State Legislatures website is an overview of revenge porn laws through the US. KOIN

UA names Key as associate vice president of university relations 
State Sen. Johnny Key will be the new associate vice president of university relations for the University of Arkansas System, university officials announced Wednesday. Key was elected into the Arkansas Senate in 2008, representing portions of Baxter, Boone and Marion counties, and has served as the chairman of the Senate Education Committee and vice chairman of the Joint Budget Committee, the release states. Key has also served as vice chairman of the Education Standing Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures. ArkansasOnline.com

Justice Elena Kagan's wonderful dissent in Greece v. Galloway (reprinted but not in its entirety)
I would hold that the government officials responsible for the above practices—that is, for prayer repeatedly invoking a single religion’s beliefs in these settings—crossed a constitutional line... So all the majority can point to in the Town’s practice is that the Board “maintains a policy of nondiscrimination,” and “represent[s] that it would welcome a prayer by any minister or layman who wishe[s] to give one.” Ante, at 17–18. But that representation has never been publicized; nor has the Board (except for a few months surrounding this suit’s filing) offered the chaplain’s role to any non-Christian clergy or layman, in either Greece or its environs; nor has the Board ever provided its chaplains with guidance about reaching out to members of other faiths, as most state legislatures and Congress do. See 732 F. Supp. 2d 195, 197–203 (WDNY 2010); National Conference of State Legislatures, Inside the Legislative Process: Prayer Practices 5–145, 5–146 (2002); ante, at 5 (BREYER, J., dissenting). Chicago Tribune

Welfare Photos Shame Holders as States Target Abuses
States including Iowa, Rhode Island and Washington have introduced bills to add a photo to cards, require that recipients show a picture ID when using benefits or to study the question, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. Bloomberg

NRA, PETA Battle Over 'Murdering Animals'
There are other factors contributing to hunters’ unease. Douglas Shinkle, who tracks the issue for the National Conference of State Legislatures, noted that, “The country is increasingly urbanizing, and habitat that used to be open fields is now contiguous to development.” Huffington Post

Why Can't States Fix Payday Lending?
State laws governing payday lending vary greatly. Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina and the District of Columbia prohibit payday lending. Eight states—Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont and West Virginia—either do not have specific payday lending statutory provisions or require payday lenders to comply with their general loan interest rate caps, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Governing/Stateline

May 6

As States Vote In Primaries, Voter ID Laws Come Under Scrutiny
"We have Florida, Georgia, Indiana," says Wendy Underhill, of the National Conference of State Legislatures. She's ticking off the names of some of the states that required voters to show a photo ID back in 2012. When it comes to state voting laws, Underhill has an important job: She's the keeper of a frequently consulted list of ID requirements, which seems to change almost daily. (The NCSL has this online resource of voter ID requirements.) This year, Underhill says, there are 16 states that require voters to show a photo ID, eight of which have what are called strict photo ID rules. That means without the credential, you basically can't vote. NPR    

The Battle For Political Control Of State Governments
For half a century, Democrats dominated state legislatures. Now Republicans do. They control the legislatures in 26 of the nation's 50 states. A discussion on what Republican control of more state legislatures could mean for environmental, economic and social policies -- and how Democrats plan to fight back. Guests: Reid Wilson, staff writer, The Washington Post; Beth Reinhard, national politics reporter, The Wall Street Journal; Tim Storey, elections analyst, National Conference of State Legislatures; and Alan Ehrenhalt, senior editor, Governing magazine. The Diane Rehm Show

New Teacher-Preparation Standards Focus on Sex Education
Only 22 states and the District of Columbia require that public schools teach sex education, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and only 19 states require that "if provided, sex education must be medically, factually, or technically accurate." Education Week

Sportsmen Push for Constitutional Hunting and Fishing Rights
Vermont included hunting and fishing rights in its original 1777 constitution. The remaining 16 states with constitutional amendments approved them within the past two decades. Source: National Conference of State Legislatures. Stateline

Tax-Cut Promises Meet Reality as U.S. State Revenue Growth Flags
Last year, several governors pushed for overhauls of their tax codes, though few were signed into law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. While 34 states considered such changes, only 14 passed them -- split evenly between cuts and increases. This year, 23 states have considered such plans, with many targeted at particular industries, said Todd Haggerty, who follows tax changes for the Denver-based group. “Their flexibility to really do a lot of different things is limited,” Haggerty said. “It goes to show how different this recovery has been compared to past downturns.” Bloomberg Businessweek

Supreme Court allows prayer to begin local public meetings
The Massachusetts House has a permanent, full-time chaplain, a position appointed by the House speaker that does not rotate among religions. The Massachusetts Senate appoints visiting chaplains and rotates them among religions, according to a survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Boston Globe

NH Senate voting on fetal homicide bill
At least 38 states have fetal homicide laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press/Washington Times

Hawthorne may raise minimum wage standards for contract workers
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 38 states have considered bills that would impose higher minimum wages this year, and 34 states are moving forward with possible increases. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia already have higher minimum wage requirements than the federal government. Daily Breeze

May 5

States look to crack down on payday lenders
Eight states — Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont and West Virginia — either do not have specific payday lending statutory provisions or require payday lenders to comply with their general loan interest rate caps, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Stateline/West Hawaii Today

Common Core brings over-testing into question
There are now at least 186 bills related to assessments being considered in state legislatures in 2014, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Norwalk Reflector

Determined Spirits 
Clemson has graduated many an ambitious man and woman. Each year, the Alumni Association recognizes a select number of those who have demonstrated an extraordinary level of commitment to its three tiers of evaluation: enhancing the value of the University for future generations; professional and public service; and personal accomplishments that serve as a model for present and future Clemson students. Thomas C. Alexander ’78. He was elected to the S.C. House of Representatives in 1986 and served for two terms before becoming the senator for S.C. Senate District One. He holds multiple leadership responsibilities in the National Conference of State Legislatures. Clemson World

GOP Poised to Control More State Legislatures
"Republicans are at something of a high-water mark," said Tim Storey, who tracks elections at the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. "However, there are still a number of states where Republicans could flip chambers and come out even stronger than they came in." Wall Street Journal

Public Pensions Lifted by Investment Returns, Improved Funding
Gains also are being driven by limits on cost-of-living adjustments, delayed retirement and more reliance on funding from workers, said Brainard, who spoke at a May 2 online conference sponsored by the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg Business Week

Some Schools Hiring Teachers as Revenues Increase, Others Struggle
Daniel Thatcher, a senior policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said that for many school districts, increases in state aid, which makes up an average of about 46 percent of school district revenue, have not kept pace with inflation, student enrollment growth and other expenses. “We know that there is a recovery happening,” Thatcher said. “It’s not a fantastic recovery. What we have seen is that the increases to state aid have not been sufficient to make up for the lost ground since the beginning of the recession.” Stateline

Common Core: What will decision cost schools, students?
Over the last year, hundreds of bills have cropped up in legislatures across the country opposing Common Core, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. States’ rights advocates and conservative activists vocally opposed the Common Core standards, saying they were created without adequate local input. Winston Salem Journal/Associated Press Wire

Metro program gives remedial students quicker path to degree
Nationally, fewer than 50 percent of re medial students complete their remedial courses, and fewer than 25 percent of remedial students at community colleges earn a certificate or degree within eight years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Denver Post

Ohio General Assembly must take action on revenge porn
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, revenge porn is the posting of nude or sexually explicit photographs or videos of people online without their consent, even if the photograph itself was taken with the victim’s consent. Vindy.com 

Lawsuit alleges 'racial gerrymandering' in Va.
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 28 lawsuits remain active in nine states. Associated Press/Daily Chronicle

Ohio bill aims to help veterans
It is similar to other states' laws that began to emerge following reports of high unemployment among the growing number of post 9/11 veterans. Those veterans sometimes have long delays in getting civilian jobs even with transferable military-acquired skills and training, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press/San Dusky Register

May 2

Arkansas judge rules voter ID law unconstitutional
An Arkansas judge ruled unconstitutional for the second time in about a week a new law requiring voters to show a photo ID, but said on Friday there was not enough time to prevent officials from applying the law at primary elections this month. Nearly three dozen U.S. states have voter identification measures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters

Fla tuition bill signals immigration debate
Florida this week joined 20 other states that allow in-state college tuition for youth in the country illegally, marking a significant shift in the tenor of the state's immigration debate. The National Conference of State Legislatures' immigration policy project says at least 15 legislatures have passed in-state tuition bills, a third of them in the past two years. The Miami Herald 

Rep. Rosie Berger announces bid for re-election
Rep. Rosie Berger, R-Big Horn, announced this week that she will seek re-election to represent House District 51 in the Wyoming House of Representatives. Berger said her agenda centers around low taxes, tight budgets and pro-community decisions. She is an executive member of the National Conference of State Legislatures and is an executive member and past chairman of the Council of State Governments West. The Sheridan Press

She is an executive member of the National Conference of State Legislatures and is an executive member and past chairman of the Council of State Governments West. - See more at: http://thesheridanpress.com/?p=20366#sthash.WdiLX4eJ.dpuf

Rick Scott would sign bill in favor of medical marijuana
Republican Gov. Rick Scott of Florida said he would sign a bill that legalizes a limited strain of medical marijuana. The use of marijuana for medical reasons is legal in 21 states and the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. CNN

Revenge porn: With Arizona, 10 states now outlaw such postings
Arizona, which on Wednesday became the 10th state to outlaw so-called “revenge porn,” has one of the strongest such laws in the US, making it a felony to post online images of people who are nude or that are sexually explicit, without getting their consent. Alaska and Texas, along with New Jersey, have laws that can be applied in such cases but haven’t received much publicity, because they weren’t promoted as revenge-porn laws. With such anti-harassment, anti-stalking, and privacy laws, specific revenge-porn laws aren't necessary, say some commentators. In addition, California, Idaho, Utah, Virginia, Georgia, and Wisconsin have passed revenge-porn laws since the start of 2013, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Christian Science Monitor

Local pols react to governor’s pot proposal
On Thursday, Gov. Tom Corbett endorsed — at least tentatively — use of medical marijuana, declaring his support for an marijuana extract used to treat seizures in children. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia now have broader laws on medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Bradford Era

In unanimous swipe, R.I. House abolishes master lever 
After years of setbacks and seeming indifference from legislative leaders, a bill that would remove straight-party voting from Rhode Island’s election ballots cleared the House Thursday by a vote of 71 to 0. Rhode Island is one of 14 states that offers the straight-party option, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Providence Journal

Soil to spoon
The USDA established Agriculture in the Classroom in 1981. It has the endorsement of all living former Secretaries of Agriculture, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, the National Conference of States Legislatures, most of the Governors of the States, and the major agricultural organizations and commodity groups. Rushville Republican

That term-limits ballot question comes with a potentially big bonus for the winner of this fall's gubernatorial race. And I don't think it's a good idea (column)
States with 3/5 majorities required to override a governor's veto (6) and States with simple majorites required to override a governor's veto (7). Source: Enacting Legislation: Veto, Veto Override and Effective Date (The Book of the States, 2013). See also: Gubernatorial Veto, National Conference of State legislatures, 2011. The Chicago Tribune

States using independent election district process

The "Yes for Independent Maps" proposal in Illinois would take legislative redistricting responsibilities away from lawmakers and gives it to an independent commission. Here's a look at other states using independent processes to draw maps of election districts every decade, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press/WREX

Seattle mayor says he struck a deal for a $15 minimum wage
Washington is home to the nation’s highest state minimum wage, at $9.32 an hour. As of April 8, 38 states had considered minimum wage bills in 2014, with 34 of them considering increases, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Minnesota and West Virginia have passed increases. Hawaii is expected to join that list after legislators approved a future hike Tuesday to $10.10, the level President Obama has pushed for nationwide. Workers in several states will see minimum wages of at least $10 in several states within a few years. Washington Post

States Look to Crack Down on Payday Lenders
State laws governing payday lending vary greatly. Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina and the District of Columbia prohibit payday lending. Eight states—Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont and West Virginia—either do not have specific payday lending statutory provisions or require payday lenders to comply with their general loan interest rate caps, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Thirty-eight states, including Louisiana, have laws that specifically allow payday lending. Four of those states, Colorado, Montana, Ohio and New Hampshire, permit the loans but with tight restrictions on interest rates. Stateline

Are Special Fees For Driving Green a Penalty?
Incentives in at least 39 states and the District of Columbia encourage EV and hybrid use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Government Technology

May 1

Florida Is the Latest State to Grant In-State Tuition for Undocumented Immigrants
The National Conference of State Legislatures says that 15 states currently allow Dreamers to be eligible for in-state tuition. The Wire

Arizona governor signs law banning ‘revenge porn’
A rejected acquaintance or spouse might seek revenge by uploading the content to specifically designed websites, many of which require a victim’s name, address, links to social media profiles, and a removal fee, according to information published by the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/MSNBC.com

'Stand your ground' laws: Two cases may suggest limits to their protections
Two recent cases in Montana and Minnesota where homeowners appeared to set traps before fatally shooting teenage intruders suggest that US society may be drawing some limits on the controversial “stand your ground” defense at the heart of major recent court cases, including the shooting of Trayvon Martin. At least 22 states now have stand your ground laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but all US states give wide latitude to homeowners who kill intruders, as long as their fears of injury were reasonable. The Christian Science Monitor

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett Backs Pot Extract Treatment
Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia now have broader laws on medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/US News & World Report

Seattle mayor plans to raise minimum wage to $15 over 3-7 years
Proposals to raise the minimum wage have been considered in nearly three dozen states in 2014, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Increases have been approved in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Minnesota, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. Reuters/WHBL

SG to consider undocumented students while supporting student IDs as a form of voter ID
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 34 states have passed laws requiring voters to show some form of identification at polls, and the remaining 19 states use other methods to verify a voter’s identity. The Daily Texan

Are Special Fees For Driving Green a Penalty?
Incentives in at least 39 states and the District of Columbia encourage EV and hybrid use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Stateline

Tanning ban for minors supported
The House and Senate have agreed to prohibit anyone under the age of 18 in Louisiana from using a tanning bed. At least five states — California, Illinois, Nevada, Texas and Vermont — ban the use of tanning beds for minors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/houmatoday.com

Congress rejects federal wage hike
Guam lawmakers are considering a bill to make Guam's minimum wage $10.10, phased in over three years. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 states and D.C. have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25. guampdn.com

Test Prep Endures in New York Schools, Despite Calls to Ease It
Besides New York, Texas restricts the number of days students can spend preparing for state assessments, said Monty Neill, the executive director of FairTest, a nonprofit group that advocates for testing reform. Limits are also in place in California, Florida and Kentucky, said Michelle Exstrom, the education program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. “Test prep is a big area of concern,” said Ms. Exstrom. NY Times

Arizona governor signs legislation to discourage 'revenge porn'
The Arizona law is among more than two dozen similar measures proposed by lawmakers nationwide to deal with the high-profile issue, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bills have been passed into law this year in Georgia, Idaho, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin, said Pam Greenberg, a conference researcher. Of that group, she said only Idaho makes it a felony for a first violation as Arizona does, while it becomes a felony on the second offense in Georgia and Utah. Reuters

Vermont will be first state in nation to require GMO labeling
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 25 states have introduced GMO labeling bills this year. Animal products would not be covered by the legislation. But the Vermont Attorney General's Office will report back to lawmakers next session on whether to require dairy products to be labeled. Mountain Times

Bill would ban e-cigarette use indoors in Delaware
Three other states, including New Jersey and North Dakota, ban smoking e-cigarettes indoors and nine others have prohibited their use in buildings like schools, universities or corrections facilities, or on public transportation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Delaware Online

Legislature cannot fix voter ID law before November election, leader says
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 34 states have passed laws requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls. As of February, 31 of these laws were in force. In two states, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, laws requiring identification to cast ballots were not in effect due to court challenges. Wisconsin State Journal

Reform groups move ahead with proposed amendments to Illinois Constitution
Fifteen states impose term limits on state legislators, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Six states had term limits at one time that have since been repealed – two by the legislatures themselves and four by their respective state supreme courts. In all four cases, the courts objected to the method by which the limits were imposed, not on the merits of the law itself. Northwest Herald

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