NCSL in the News | May 2015

5/1/2015

May 29

N.C. governor to veto gay marriage 'conscience' exemption bill 
Washington Times 
Utah is the only other state that has approved such a “conscience” exemption, WTVD said, citing the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
More schools experiment with four-day school weeks, but do they help students?
Deseret News
Schools in 21 different states, including Arizona, Utah, Oregon and Wyoming, have schools that only operate four days a week, according to the National Council of State Legislators. These schools are typically found in small, rural communities that have fewer students enrolled.
 
The Myth of State Policy Innovation
Governing
States may find out about other states' policy initiatives at conferences, such as those of the Council of State Governments or the National Conference of State Legislatures, and then adopt those policies as their own with minor modifications.
                  
Right to Work effort doesn't really work
Great Falls Tribune
Figures from The National Conference of State Legislatures show that unemployment rates in RTW states are in fact lower but, on average, only by about one quarter of 1 percent. In fact, last February, according to figures provided by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, that difference was less than one fifth of 1 percent (5.13 percent versus 5.29 percent).
 
Gay marriage religious objections bill back before NC House 
WTVD-TV 
Only Utah has passed a similar law allowing government officials to refuse to marry couples for religious reasons, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Oklahoma and Texas have passed laws allowing religious organizations to choose not to solemnize marriages.

Clinton lawmaker hopes to make sex trafficking a capital offense
Ogden Standard-Examiner
According to the National Conference on State Legislatures, 32 states still authorize capital punishment. Since 2009, New Mexico, Illinois, Connecticut and Maryland banned the practice in favor of life imprisonment without parole.

Exemption for NC officials on gay marriage approved 
Asheville Citizen-Times 
The state's top court administrator said at the time magistrates who declined to officiate for same-sex couples could be punished, terminated or face potential criminal charges. Utah is the only other state that's approved a similar exemption, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Tennessee's most powerful politician
The Ledger
Ron Ramsey: Elected in 1992 to Tennessee House of Representatives from First District of Sullivan County, served two terms; elected to state Senate in 1996 from Fourth Senate District; elected by Senate as speaker in 2007; 2011 named to Board of Directors of National Conference of State Legislators

House 2016: Gridlock Ahead for a Possible Clinton Administration
Rasmussen Reports
Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures found that the president's party has lost net state legislative seats in 27 of the last 29 midterm elections, and Democrats performed better in gubernatorial elections while President Bush was in office than when President Obama has been in office. Democrats could benefit from legislative elections conducted in 2020's presidential year, but remember that the next election would be 2022 -- a midterm -- where the historical midterm trend might dull any edge Democrats would get from improved maps.

May 28

US state April income tax revenue returns to growth 
Reuters 
"Revenues are not materializing to levels (Kansas) expected when the rates were cut in 2012 and 2013," said Arturo Perez, a fiscal analyst at the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.

Iowa adjournment rules differ from many other states
Washington Times
Most states set some time limits for their legislatures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In 39 states, there is some kind of restriction, either a set number of days to meet or a fixed date for adjournment. Some states have those rules set by the constitution, whereas in Iowa, the per diem payment rules function as an indirect enforcement mechanism. "If it is set by constitution, they cannot change those and they must follow them, or they are violating the constitution. Anything passed after the deadline is subject to a lawsuit," said Brenda Erickson, a senior research analyst with the NCSL. She said a system like Iowa's provides more flexibility, though she noted that "flexibility and procrastination can run hand in hand."

Texas Bill on Campus Handguns May Be Scuttled by State Senate
Bloomberg
Twenty states ban concealed weapons from colleges, while 23 allow schools to make their own policies, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Marriage objections bill nears final OK in NC legislature
WRAL.com
Only Utah has passed a similar law allowing government officials to refuse to marry couples for religious reasons, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Oklahoma and Texas have passed laws allowing religious organizations to choose not to solemnize marriages.

Editorial: Office daycare offers benefits
Topeka Capital Journal
The National Conference of State Legislatures has reported child care issues cause more problems in the workplace than any other family-related issue. Higher rates of tardiness and absenteeism were among the unwelcome results.

Got marriage advice? Family therapist tackles viewer submissions 
KTXS 
29: The number of U.S. states that have constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Court sets high bar on states' campaign contribution limits
Gillette News Record 
Oregon is the only state of the nine has no limits on campaign contributions. Nationwide, 38 states had some form of contribution limits in 2013, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Legislation will charge customers for plastic bags
Delaware First Media
Hawaii has a de facto state ban, with counties rejecting non-biodegradable bags and paper bags using less than 40 percent recycled materials according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Texas bill the latest revolving door measure to flounder
Sunlight Foundation
Ten states have no mandatory cooling-off periods, according to a 2014 analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures. And even among the states that have some restrictions in place, loopholes abound, as the Center for Public Integrity found in a 2013 analysis.

May 27

Supreme Court to Consider How to Calculate Size of Voting Districts
Wall Street Journal
Wendy Underhill, an elections expert with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said states usually use census data and count everyone, but the practice isn’t universal. “A few states do adjust the data they get from the census to account for prisoners, military personnel and, in Kansas, students. No states adjust for noncitizens.”
 
Texas Passes Bill Allowing Handguns on Public College Campuses
Bloomberg
Twenty states ban concealed weapons from college campuses, while 23 allow individual schools to make their own policies, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Elder Abuse A 'Huge, Expensive And Lethal' Problem For States 
Huffington Post 
A total of 29 states plus the District of Columbia considered legislation in 2013 to crack down on financial crimes against the elderly, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Eighteen laws and resolutions were adopted.(NCSL has not compiled numbers for 2014 or 2015.)

Introducing Tracking Cannabis, A Legal Blog By Thompson Coburn 
Mondaq News Alerts
There is a maze of laws and regulations that impacts clients in the industry. My area of interest is compliance with regulatory requirements related to health and safety. Within this area, there are a number of interesting websites. One site that I often consult and you may find interesting is an overview of state medical marijuana laws by the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

UT Chancellor McRaven: Campus Carry is ‘Conduct’ that Hurts the University
Breitbart News 
According to the National Conference of States Legislatures, Campus Carry is the law of the land in Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah, and Wisconsin. It will be the law of the land in Kansas on July 1, 2017.

Court reverses ruling on Montana campaign contribution limits
The Missoulian
Oregon is the only state of the nine that has no limits on campaign contributions. Nationwide, 38 states had some form of contribution limits in 2013, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Uber's bid for Texas rideshare law set to fail
New Zealand Herald
Almost every legislature in the United States took up some version of a ridesharing bill this year, said Douglas Shinkle, program principal at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Last year, Colorado became the first to pass a bill allowing for the operation of ridesharing services. Since then, 16 more states have followed suit.

May 26

Fighting Pollution From Microbeads Used in Soaps and Creams
New York Times
Four states — Illinois, Maine, New Jersey and Colorado — have enacted legislation to restrict the use of microbeads, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, while bills are pending in others, including Michigan, Minnesota, Washington and Oregon. If the California bill becomes law, the state would ban not only synthetic particles but the biodegradable ones that many companies have been developing as alternatives.
 
'Right to try' bills would let dying Californians use experimental drugs
Sacramento Bee
Nationally, the idea is riding a wave of momentum. At least 36 states have taken up bills and 12 of them were signed into law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Nevada case is latest to test 'stand your ground' laws
U.S. News & World Report
Twenty-two specifically say "there is no duty to retreat (from) an attacker in any place in which one is lawfully present," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

How Politicians From Hillary Clinton To David Cameron Reacted To Ireland's Same-Sex Marriage Vote
International Business Times
Within the U.S., Maine, Maryland and Washington in 2012 were the first states to legalize such unions through popular votes. Meanwhile, 37 states and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriages, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Elder Abuse a 'Huge, Expensive and Lethal' Problem for States
Stateline
A total of 29 states plus the District of Columbia considered legislation in 2013 to crack down on financial crimes against the elderly, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Eighteen laws and resolutions were adopted. (NCSL has not compiled numbers for 2014 or 2015.)

Debate on immigrant driver's licenses simmers in N.J.
NorthJersey.com
Obama’s 2012 executive action shielded unauthorized youth and young adults from deportation if they had been brought into the country as children. Ann Morse, program director of the Immigration Policy Project at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said that besides the concern for safety and to get unauthorized immigrant drivers insured, the executive action has spurred a growing number of lawmakers who want to extend driving privileges. The young adults who qualified for the deportation waivers received work permits and Social Security cards, and in many states, including New Jersey, are able to get driver’s licenses.

Lawmakers pressed to extend, expand film credits
Daily Astorian
According to a 2014 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures, 39 states have tax incentives for film and video production, but others have dropped or scaled back their programs.

Rhode Island state Senate approves performance-based funding for colleges
theday.com
Four other states also currently are transitioning to performance-based funding, the National Conference of State Legislatures said

IDAAC Fort Wayne Chapter to host State 2nd Quarterly Meeting
Frost Illustrated
Randolph has also been appointed to serve on the Law and Criminal Justice Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the nation’s 50 states, its commonwealths and territories.

Angela Williams ignitesSenate District 33 campaign
The Colorado Statesman
She was recently appointed to the National Conference of State Legislators Executive Committee and serves as Vice-Chair of the NCSL Communications, Finance and Interstate Commerce Committee. She is also the National Financial Secretary for NOBEL Wome

Legislators Continue to Consider Microbead Restriction
Pioneer News
Four states (Colorado, Illinois, Maine, and New Jersey) have already enacted some legislation to restrict the incorporation of these microbeads, as described by the National Conference of State Legislature.

Healthy, safe environments are one of three basic needs of children
AAP News
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s state data profiles on asthma in 2011 showed that 6% of children in Oregon have asthma while 13% of children living in the District of Columbia are affected. What’s more, data from the National Conference of State Legislatures indicate that nearly 40% of children in Mississippi and South Carolina have overweight or obesity compared to 26% of the children in Oregon. 
 
Pa. Senate holds key to a smaller Legislature
Reading Eagle 
Pennsylvania's lawmakers work full time and earn a base annual salary of about $85,000, the second-highest in the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And Pennsylvania ranks first in its count of legislative staffers.

Mayor Landrieu executive order: Discrimination won't be tolerated IN ...
Rapid News Network
The order, while deemed by many to be mostly symbolic, came after the legislature couldn’t move forward a bill that had similar wording. The legislation, House Bill 707, was known the “Marriage and Conscience Act”. Over 15 states have considered such laws this year, though only Arkansas and Indiana enacted them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The order doesn’t limit the actions that could be defended under a claim of religious freedom.

May 22

Critics Bash Louisiana Governor on 'Religious Freedom' Order 
ABC News 
Over 15 states have considered such laws this year, though only Arkansas and Indiana enacted them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

As police body cameras proliferate, new legal questions emerge
AL.com
Analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures shows that more than 80 bills were introduced in 30 states around the U.S. addressing body cameras. The cameras have come with significant costs. The Justice Department, earlier this month, announced it was spending $20 million to police agencies for body cameras as the first part of a three-year, $75 million program.

State Senate approves performance-based funding for colleges 
KSL.com 
Thirty states allocate some funding to colleges based on metrics, such as the time it takes to graduate, transfer rates, the number of degrees awarded and the number of low-income and minority graduates, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Enough Already on Tax Credits for Moviemakers! 
The Fiscal Times 
Louisiana was the first state to adopt the credits in 1992. Now, 39 states and Puerto Rico have tax incentives of one kind or another, all aimed at the film and television industries, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Commissioners support online voter registration
The Daily Advocate
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that as of May 2015, “a total of 20 states offer online registration, and another seven states plus the District of Columbia have passed legislation to create online voter registration systems, but have not yet implemented them.”
 
Four-day school weeks: Who uses them and why
Arizona Education News Service
Nationally, 120 school districts in 21 states have a four-day school week, and usually these are small, rural districts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The shortened week first began in the 1930s, then became more common during the energy crisis of the 1970s.  

RI Senate approves performance-based funding for colleges
Nashua Telegraph
Thirty states allocate some funding to colleges base on metrics, such as the time it takes to graduate, transfer rates, the number of degrees awarded and the number of low-income and minority graduates, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

May 21

Uber Heads for Defeat in Bid for Statewide Texas Ridesharing Law
Bloomberg
Almost every legislature in the U.S. took up some version of a ridesharing bill this year, said Douglas Shinkle, program principal at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Last year, Colorado became the first to pass a bill allowing for the operation of ridesharing services. Since then, 16 more states have followed suit.

Workers take protests over minimum wage to McDonald's HQ
Fox News Latino
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 29 states and the District of Columbia currently have minimum wage levels that exceed the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

Senate advances bill for performance-based state aid to RI public colleges
The Providence Journal
Thirty other states, including Massachusetts, base some of their funding on performance indicators such as course completion and how long it takes to earn a degree, and four other states are considering similar measures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

McDonald's, other fast-food workers, protest ahead of annual meeting 
Business Insider 
Twenty-nine states and Washington, D.C. currently have minimum wages above the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Savings help for employees without access to 401(k) 
CNBC 
Numerous other states are moving toward the creation of state-managed retirement plans in various forms. California is conducting a market analysis that is required before the state retirement plan it passed can be implemented, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And Gill said New Jersey's Legislature is considering a bill with leadership support and bipartisan backing.

Idaho's part-time lawmakers return home to careers 
San Francisco Chronicle 
Idaho is one of 16 states with a part-time legislature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Rep. Gilbert to serve on national committee on labor and economic development
Daily Bulldog
Rep. Paul Gilbert, D-Jay, will serve on the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Labor and Economic Development Committee.

It isn't just Illinois: Other states are struggling to balance budgets, too
Crain's Chicago Business 
“The one word we have not used since the recession has been 'robust,'” said Arturo Perez, Fiscal Affairs Program director at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. “That's left states vulnerable.”  

FDA:Products Containing CBD Cannot Be Sold as Dietary ...
Natural Products INSIDER 
But it’s a complicated landscape because a number of states authorize the use of CBD for medical reasons. Some state laws only permit research while others authorize the use of CBD to treat certain medical conditions including seizure disorders, according to summaries provided by the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization that lists 14 states with CBD laws on the books.  

May 20

Six Years Into Recovery, U.S. States Struggle to Balance Budgets
Bloomberg
“The one word we have not used since the recession has been ‘robust,’” said Arturo Perez, Fiscal Affairs Program director at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. “That’s left states vulnerable.”

Savings help for employees without access to 401(k)
CNBC
Numerous other states are moving toward the creation of state-managed retirement plans in various forms. California is conducting a market analysis that is required before the state retirement plan it passed can be implemented, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Legislators advance in-state tuition, aid for undocumented students
The CT Mirror
Of the 18 states in the U.S. that offer in-state rates to undocumented immigrants, Connecticut currently has the strictest threshold to qualify, reports the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most states require three years, and New York and Oklahoma require two.
 
Joint Finance approves Scott Walker's plan to drug test for public benefits
Madison.com
At least 12 states have passed similar laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Pennsylvania needs to update regulations on nurse practitioners: PennLive letters 
PennLive.com 
Further, a growing number of organizations and government groups – the Federal Trade Commission, AARP, Institute of Medicine, the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures – all acknowledge that granting patients full and direct access to nurse practitioners improves access to high-quality care and preserves patient choice. 

India must consider allowing For-profit education 
Business Today 
However, for-profit education-or proprietary education, is also gaining traction in the world at present. As per the data by National Conference of State Legislatures at USA, enrolment of for-profit institutions has increased 225 per cent in the past two decades. Currently, about 2.2 million students attend for-profit colleges.
 
NEA's Lily Eskelsen Garcia Remains Faithful to Gates Funding 
Huffington Post 
Since 2003, Gates has given the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) $2.3 million. In 2009, NCSL "co-chair" Gates gave a keynote in which he said, "Without measurement, there is no pressure for improvement." Forget learning for learning's sake. External pressure is required, says expert Gates.
 
Failure to Stop
School Transportation News
Twelve other state laws permit the use of cameras on bus exteriors to catch stop-arm runners, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

New law overhauls special education funding in Tennessee
The Tennessean
Arizona first passed a bill giving parents education money and allowing them to customize its use for their children in 2011, and Florida and Mississippi have since passed similar laws, said Josh Cunningham, a senior policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Connecticut lawmakers pass powdered alcohol ban
WTNH
About eight states have similar laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Assembly Passes Bill That Would Let Terminally Ill Request ...
Capital Public Radio News
The National Conference of State Legislatures says a dozen states have approved similar laws. Some lawmakers are introducing the bills as an alternate to "right-to-die" bills allowing access to life-ending drugs. 
 
State to offer rebates for electric cars
Connecticut Post 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 37 states and the District of Columbia offered some form of electric car incentives at the end of 2014.

TMA names Steve Rauschenberger as president
Daily Herald
Rauschenberger is a past president of the National Conference of State Legislatures, where he also served as co-chair of the Taskforce on Telecommunications and Electronic Commerce. 
 
Three immigration bills to watch at the Nevada Legislature
Las Vegas Sun
AB21 is a measure to urge Congress to to enact comprehensive immigration reform. The symbolic move is common — in 2014, seven states adopted resolutions seeking action from Congress or the Obama administration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Cashed out: The ethics of state-regulated health care equipment financing
mediaroom.marlinfinance.com
New York passed its CON laws, others followed suit until eventually the federal government mandated total adoption for every state with the Health Planning Resources Development Act of 1974 according to the National Conference of State Legislature.

May 19

NCSL: Toxics Law Rewrite Takes Too Much From States
CQ Roll Call
The National Conference of State Legislatures and the Environmental Council of the States told the senators they want more changes to the overhaul (S 697) of the nation's toxic chemicals law (PL 94-469), which has gained steam in the Senate since a bipartisan deal was unveiled last month. That compromise would truncate the amount of time states would be pre-empted from acting to regulate a chemical once the EPA begins a safety assessment. But a final EPA decision would still supersede any state actions not grandfathered in under the bill.
 
Paul LePage Wants To Kick Ex-Cons Off Food Stamps, Drug Test ...
Huffington Post
A dozen states have incorporated drug testing in public benefits programs since 2011, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At least 16 states have considered adding drug tests this year. Republicans have pushed for drug tests despite scant evidence of widespread drug abuse among people receiving benefits.

Three immigration bills to watch at the Nevada Legislature
Las Vegas Sun
AB21 is a measure to urge Congress to to enact comprehensive immigration reform. The symbolic move is common — in 2014, seven states adopted resolutions seeking action from Congress or the Obama administration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Lawmaker: Tax reform alone not enough
Charleston Gazette
However, as Mandy Rafool with the National Conference of State Legislatures pointed out, critics charged that the changes shifted the tax burden to low- and middle-income residents, with 80 percent of North Carolinians seeing their taxes increase after the reform. 
 
Concerns surround Palcohol in Alabama
FOX6 WBRC - MyFoxAL.com
Alabama is not alone, as of this month nine states have bans on powdered alcohol, one state has a temporary ban and four states already have existing laws that prohibit the sale of it. The National Conference of State Legislatures says 80 bills have been introduced in 39 states this legislative session alone involving powdered alcohol.

We support bans on powdered alcohol 
Seacoastonline.com 
Alaska, Louisiana, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont and Virginia passed bans as of early April, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Connecticut lawmakers pass powdered alcohol ban
WCVB Boston
About eight states have similar laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Battle to Regulate Uber, Lyft Moves From City Halls to State Capitols
Xconomy 
That activity has ramped up around the country this year, especially in state legislatures. As of this writing, 15 governors have signed ridesharing bills into law in 2015, according to research by Xconomy and Douglas Shinkle, a transportation policy expert with the National Conference of State Legislatures who has been tracking ridesharing legislation nationwide. The legislative barrage seems to be “springing from the prevalence and proliferation of these services, and folks wanting to have some basic regulatory framework in place,” Shinkle says.

Citing voter concerns over mail-in ballots, Nebraska lawmaker calls for 'secrecy sleeve'
Kearney Hub
In some states, including Iowa, such ballots come with a “secrecy sleeve,” which allows voters to tuck their ballot into a blank envelope.
“It’s not uncommon to use secrecy sleeves. They do help remove a voter’s name from the ballot,” said Wendy Underhill of the National Conference of State Legislatures. But Underhill added that a voter’s ballot can be kept confidential without a secrecy sleeve — by making sure election workers are properly trained to not look, and by using a process that would make it difficult to look.

Legislators press impeachment measure forward
The Daily Astorian
If it clears both chambers — and voters approve it in the November 2016 general election — Oregon will join every other state with an impeachment process for statewide elected officials. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Oregon is the only state without it. 

Lawmakers push for medical pot study
Kotatv
(NCSL Data Cited)Take a look at which states allow recreational and medical marijuana use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

May 18

Some States Yell "Cut!" on Film Tax Credits
Stateline
The movie is being made in Louisiana largely because the state offers unlimited tax credits to entice film companies to shoot on location there.  Louisiana was the first state to adopt the credits in 1992. Now, 39 states and Puerto Rico have tax incentives of one kind or another, all aimed at the film and television industries, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Scott Walker could set himself apart in 2016 with voucher expansion
Madison.com
Today, there is no cap on the number of students with disabilities who may receive a school voucher in Florida, and the voucher is worth as much as a public school would receive for that student, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

State Supreme Court hears 'wrongful life' case
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Similar bans on litigation are in effect in 13 other states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and they are backed by anti-abortion groups and some disability-rights organizations. But Sue Frietsche, an attorney with the Women’s Law Project, calls the ban “another law that singles out for special bad treatment a woman’s decision about whether to keep a pregnancy.”
 

Utah is a model of constructive Republicanism
Deseret News
The Economist article plays off Utah’s reputation for missionary zeal by encouraging the state to export the Utah model of policymaking. Interestingly, Utah has an extraordinary opportunity during the next year to do so. Gov. Gary Herbert will soon serve as the chairman of the powerful and prominent National Governors Association. Mayor Ralph Becker is the current president of the influential National League of Cities. This summer, state Sen. Curt Bramble will become president of the widely respected and bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. And Salt Lake Chamber President and CEO Lane Beattie serves on the board of directors for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, arguably the most powerful business lobbying group in the world.
 
NJ bicyclists face roads fraught with mortal threats
Asbury Park Press
New Jersey is one of 17 states in the nation and the only one among Northeast and Middle Atlantic states that doesn't offer any roadside protection for bikers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Joint Select Committee on Tax Reform to meet May 18 in Charleston 
Point Pleasant Register 
Trends and Tax Reform Efforts in Other States with Mandy Rafool, fiscal affairs policy staff with the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Scott signs online voter registration law 'with some hesitation' 
Palm Beach Post 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 20 states offer online voter registration, three others offer a limited form of online registration, and four have passed legislation to create online-registration systems.

Scott signs online registration law
Pensacola News Journal
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 20 states offer online voter registration, three others offer a limited form of online registration, and four have passed legislation to create online-registration systems. 
 
Colorado health insurance exchange seeks reimbursement from ...
The Denver Post
Dick Cauchi, health analyst with the National Conference of State Legislators, said the exchange-Medicaid interface has been "a thorny issue" nationwide from the beginning.

Worry over Shariah law jeopardizes child support
Clinton Herald
Foreign law bans have been introduced this year in 17 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nine states have passed them, and a bill in Mississippi was recently signed into law.

Friday round-up
SCOTUSblog 
At the blog of the National Conference of State Legislatures, Lisa Soronen discusses the pair of cases in which the Court recently granted cert. to consider whether the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission can regulate “demand response” payments to retail customers of electricity.
 
Claire McCaskill Blasts Sexual Harassment In Upcoming Memoir By Highlighting Problems With ... 
Bustle 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, women make up just 24.1 percent of state legislatures nationwide.

May 15

Illinois lawmakers move to ban powdered alcohol
Chicago Tribune
Illinois would join at least four other states, including Alaska, Louisiana and South Carolina, that have a ban on the books. Bills are pending in 39 states this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Worry Over Shariah Law in Idaho Jeopardizes Child Support 
ABC News 
Foreign law bans have been introduced this year in 17 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nine states have passed them, and a bill in Mississippi was recently signed into law.

Do trade deals hide threats to state laws?
DesMoinesRegister.com
The National Conference of State Legislatures has observed and documented the "chilling effect" of these deals on even non-discriminatory state laws such as electronic waste producer responsibility laws, regulation of water extraction, bans on toxic chemicals in consumer products, tax haven restrictions, tobacco labeling and taxation, pipeline safety, as well as economic development incentives and local procurement statutes.

Part of Montana Republicans' primary lawsuit dismissed at their request
The Missoulian
Montana is one of 11 states with completely open primaries, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.

New report outlines WV higher education funding trends 
State Journal 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, many states enacted legislation to address all three of the available means of influencing college affordability: appropriations, financial aid and tuition policy.

New law requires some sex offenders to move 
Great Falls Tribune 
Montana is the 12th state with a law restricting sex offenders from living near children, according to information from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Wisconsin GOP Advances Bills Controlling How People On Welfare Eat And Pee
Huffington Post
At least 16 states are considering various drug test bills this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Cox appointed to national budget committee
Observer & Eccentric Newspapers
State Rep. Laura Cox (R-Livonia) has been appointed to serve on the Budgets and Revenue Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) for the 2015-2016 term.

Local officials support online voter registration
Springfield News Sun 
As of April, 20 states offer online registrations and six states plus the District of Columbia have passed legislation to create online voter registration systems, but have not yet implemented them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Wendy Underhill, a program manager at National Conference of State Legislatures, said Maryland has since changed its system. She added that people have raised concerns about security because registration is online.
“Every state that has done it has taken steps that they see as appropriate to avoid that, so there’s personal information that you need to have to access it,” Underhill said. “It’s a real thing to think about and yet it seems to be a place people feel comfortable going given that its not related to the vote itself.”

Many Pa. lawmakers have jobs outside the Capitol - but good luck finding out how much they made: John L. Micek
Central Pennsylvania 
All but three states require legislators to file some kind of financial disclosure form, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The three exceptions are Idaho, Michigan and Vermont.

A Florida bill would implement online voter registration
Watch Dog 
The National Conference of State Legislatures analyzed online registration in April 2015, basing some information on research conducted by Pew Charitable Trusts. Pew’s research in 2010 found that “Arizona experienced a reduction in per-registration costs from 83 cents per paper registration to 3 cents per online registration. Other states have also experienced significant cost savings in processing registrations.” NCSL also addressed security issues, finding no known breaches to date. One “essential element” said the organization, is “system design.” Other safety features include a “CAPTCHA” box to prevent hacking, and encrypting data. “Multi-screen systems that offer just one question on a screen are harder to hack.

Ohio hospital lobbyist: Franchise fee is ‘bad policy’ but we’re asking to raise it anyway
The Business Journal
Ohio imposes a gross receipts tax on hospitals and a bed tax on nursing homes that effectively increases the federal government’s share of the state’s total Medicaid expenses. A total of 49 states have similar taxes and fees, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Idaho lawmakers’ worries about Shariah law jeopardize international child-support treaty
New Europe
Foreign-law bans have been introduced this year in 17 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nine states have passed them, and a bill in Mississippi was recently signed into law.
 
Today Marks the 219th Anniversary of the First Successful Inoculation, and the Birth of the Anti-Vaccine Movement
KQED
NCSL data cited

Lawmakers do tax reform – part II
Charleston Daily Mail 
Republican leaders in the Legislature turned to the National Conference of State Legislatures prior their takeover of the statehouse in January for training and workshops so their invitation comes as little surprise as well.
 
Bill reducing sentences for pot possession clears La. House
WDSU New Orleans
Tennesee Gov. Bill Haslam signed a bill legalizing cannabis oil for some medical conditions on May 4, take a look at which states allow recreational and medical marijuana use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Arizona Repays Loans That Funded Unemployment Insurance
KJZZ
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 22 states and the U.S. Virgin islands owed a total of $28.8 billion to the government for unemployment insurance loans in early 2013, with California leading the way with a $10.7 billion debt. Now, six states and the U.S. Virgin Islands owe $7.1 billion, with California owing $5.2 billion of that amount, federal statistics show.

May 14

Retiring? Check out which states' tax laws favor you 
Sacramento Bee 
Here’s the rundown, according to the National Conference of State Legislature’s April update on state income taxes on pensions and retirement income:

Cities and state legislature organizations come together in Washington to tout P3s during Infrastructure Week 2015  
Lexology 
Attendees peppered the speakers with questions ranging from the prospects for federal level P3 legislation to the viability of local level P3s.  Co-hosts NCPPP, NLC and the National Conference of State Legislatures called the event a success. 

Efforts to Regulate Home Schooling Rekindle Controversies
Education Week
However, analysts with both ECS and the National Conference of State Legislatures say that just because there isn't a state law on the books, that doesn't mean there's no accountability for home schoolers. But even as some members of the home-school community protest any increased government involvement in their children's education, in other ways the lines between home and public schooling are being blurred, said Josh Cunningham, a senior policy analyst with NCSL
 
Wisconsin Assembly passes junk food, drug testing bills
TwinCities.com-Pioneer Press
Eleven states already require drug testing of at least some welfare recipients, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. And four states require drug-testing of at least some people filing for unemployment compensation.
 
Free food fills Missouri Capitol's hallways as ethics bill dies
Lake Expo
If no ethics bill passes, Missouri will be bucking the trend, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Only 10 states have no limits on gifts to legislators. In the last five years, almost half the states have passed some type of gift law. Last year alone, the NCSL said, changes passed in at least five states: Arkansas, California, Kentucky, Virginia and Washington.

Mo. lawmakers send Nixon "right-to-work" measure 
STLtoday.com 
Currently, 25 states let workers choose whether or not to join a union, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Those state's still have unions, but workers cannot be required to become members. 

N. Carolina tanning bed ban for children heads to governor's office ...
Daily Journal
Eleven other states already have an under-18 prohibition on tanning bed use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

May 13

11 States Where Employers Can't Check Your Credit
MSN
Last year, 39 bills were introduced in 19 states aimed at restricting employer credit checks, but such restrictions exist in only 11 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Utah Delays $65 Million in Paving Because of Federal Funding Uncertainty
ConstructionPro.com
Utah State Sen. Curt Bramble, who is president-elect of the National Conference of State Legislatures, made the disclosure May 5 in testimony at a U.S. Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing on the importance of a long-term reauthorization of the trust fund.

House passes Election Day registration
Burlington Free Press
Passage of S. 29 makes Vermont the 14th state, plus the District of Columbia, to adopt such a law, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. The Senate passed the bill in January.

New law overhauls special education funding in Tennessee
State South Carolina News
Arizona first passed a bill giving parents education money and allowing them to customize its use for their children in 2011, and Florida and Mississippi have since passed similar laws, said Josh Cunningham, a senior policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Police Body Cameras: Are They Inevitable?
Government Technology
Data from the National Conference of State Legislatures show 34 states are considering legislation related to body cameras. In Pennsylvania, a House bill would require all officers to wear them.

NC tanning-bed ban for young people clears Senate committee
WNCN
Eleven other states already an under 18 prohibition on tanning bed use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

E-cigarette sales in Oregon to be outlawed to minors
National Monitor
The National Conference on State Legislatures reports that 42 other states have passed similar measures to the one advancing in Oregon.
 
Officer body cameras, hundreds of other laws take effect
Cache Valley Daily
Breast-feeding mothers also can be excused from jury duty. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports 16 states and Puerto Rico offer a similar exemption

State Laws Seek To Hamstring Pharmacists in Biosimilar Arena
Pharmacy Practice News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 39 bills or resolutions have been filed in 23 states related to biologics or biosimilars as of March 30, 2015.

Missouri is no longer home to the youngest statewide official
Kansas City Star
We saw “apparently” because neither the National Conference of State Legislatures nor the National Governors Association keeps track of such 

Free food fills Missouri Capitol's hallways as ethics bill dies
STLtoday.com
If no ethics bill passes, Missouri will be bucking the trend, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Only 10 states have no limits on gifts to legislators. In the last five years, almost half the states have passed some type of gift law. Last year alone, the NCSL said, changes passed in at least five states: Arkansas, California, Kentucky, Virginia and Washington. The laws vary widely, ranging from “zero tolerance” in 10 states to monetary limits in 30 states. Iowa sits at the low end with a $3-per-day lid while Texas is among the highest, allowing $500 for gifts and $500 for entertainment annually, according to NCSL. The push for gift laws “has gathered steam because legislators want to make certain that the public understands that these gifts do not influence public policy,” said Peggy Kerns, who recently retired as the director of NCSL’s Center for Ethics in Government.  

What's The Difference Between Minimum Wage and Living Wage in Chicago?
News Max
Illinois is among more than half the states in the U.S. to have a higher rate than the federal minimum wage of $7.25, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

May 12

Authorities take long view on inevitability of police body cameras
Tribune-Review
Data from the National Conference of State Legislatures show 34 states are considering legislation related to body cameras. In Pennsylvania, a House bill would require all officers to wear them.
 
Collecting sales taxes on online purchases is fair
Montgomery Advertiser
Estimates on the new revenue it would bring to Alabama each year vary but go as high as $347 million, had the tax been collected in 2012, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Ex-felons to Hogan: Let us vote now
Baltimore Sun
Maryland is one of 39 states that allow ex-convicts to vote after they have completed their sentences for felony convictions, including any probation or parole, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Oregon bill to ban 'vaping' by minors advances
The Register-Guard
Supporters say the bill is needed because Oregon is one of a few states that hasn’t already banned selling e-cigarettes to minors. According to the National Conference on State Legislatures, 42 other states have passed such measures.
 
House Advances E-Cigarette Ban for Minors
Texas Tribune
Texas is one of eight states that allow minors to buy e-cigarettes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
New Jersey bill would toughen penalties for swatting
NorthJersey.com
Swatting has been getting more attention in recent years, but it's not clear how many states are responding to it with legislation. The National Conference of State Legislatures says it's not tracking it.

Nullification Spreading: Minnesota Invalidates FDA Restrictions
The New American
Twenty-one states have passed laws that challenge or opt out of the federal healthcare law, while 47 of the 50 states have considered bills to “limit, alter or oppose selected state or federal actions” related to ObamaCare, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
What's the cheapest new car to drive? Hint: It's an EV
Grist
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 37 states and the District of Columbia offer incentives for EVs, including tax incentives, 

Drugs kill more in Ohio; dealers avoid prison
Bucyrus Telegraph Forum
Several states have laws that allow drug dealers to be charged with murder for fatal overdoses. The offense can lead to the death penalty in Florida and Nevada, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Nelson to act swiftly on marijuana legislation
Virgin Island Daily News
Marijuana remains against federal law, but 23 states, the District of Columbia and Guam now allow for comprehensive medical marijuana or cannabis programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Oregon Senate votes to ban sales of e-cigarettes to minors
KATU
According to the National Conference on State Legislatures, 42 other states have passed similar measures.

May 11

States Aim to Preemptively Block Power Plant Regulations
Roll Call 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 72 bills or resolutions related to the Environmental Protection Agency’s plans have surfaced in 27 states, spanning Alaska to Virginia, with 10 of the measures already enacted into law.

Dems, GOP Ready to Act If Supreme Court Axes House Districts
ABC News
The nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures says commissions share redistricting power with legislatures in 11 other states. Combined, those states hold 152 seats in the 435-member House.

States debate whether to tax income or consumption
Boston Globe
Max Behlke, manager of federal and state relations at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said the tax policy battles are driven by changing political dynamics in state houses. In recent years, he noted, Republicans have solidified their control over most legislatures, today controlling 68 of 99 chambers in the country. “When you get down to it,” Behlkie said, “it’s about politics and about the different party views on how taxes should be applied.”
In all, 43 states have income taxes and 45 have sales taxes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Open for business should mean fair taxes         
Washington Post
Large majorities in the Maryland General Assembly have recognized S.B. 190 is sound tax policy, as has the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Multistate Tax Commission.

Anti-Common-Core Bills Diversify as Democrats' Skepticism Grows, Report Says
Education Week 
Utilizing Dan Thatcher's common-core bill tracking at the National Conference of State Legislatures, Jochim and Lavery counted 238 "negative" bills dealing with the common core from 2011 to 2014. 
 
Synthetic Pot Leads to Nationwide Spike in Hospitalizations
ABC News 
All 50 states have banned cannabinoids by outlawing specific compounds since 2011, and a federal law in 2012 added certain cannabinoids to the U.S. controlled substances list, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Area hospital trends mirror national drug problem
Gainesville Times
All 50 states have banned cannabinoids by outlawing specific compounds since 2011, and a federal law in 2012 added certain cannabinoids to the U.S. controlled substances list, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Strength in Numbers
Rhode Island Monthly 
All legislatures have research staff, but the size and arrangements vary considerably, says Brian Weberg, director of legislative studies for the National Conference of State Legislatures. “Most of the nonpartisan research shops that are part of the legislature are there to help them with current bills, and there’s not a lot of retrospective looking back. In many cases, they are wearing several hats and most of the research they do is not long-term.”

State pays $5.85 million for lawmaker health insurance
The Tennessean
Like Tennessee, most states offer health insurance to legislators, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and many offer the same benefits as other state employees.
 
EDITORIAL: In Pennsylvania, land of legislative excess, smaller is better
lehighvalleylive.com
A reduction in the 2,918-member legislative support staff, which the National Conference of State Legislatures says is the largest in the nation. The proposed cut in elected officials would save between $14 and $22 million a year -- significant, but still a small slice of the state's $29 billion budget.
 
Big Ohio Cities Aren't Alone In Pondering Open-drink Zones
The Courier
States including Alabama, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado and Florida have statutes allowing public alcohol consumption in specified entertainment districts or other areas, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
House braces for district shifts
Arkansas Online
The nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures says commissions share redistricting power with legislatures in 11 other states. Combined, those states hold 152 seats in the 435-member House.
 
Texas a flashpoint in debate over right to film police
Tucson Sentinel
Lawmakers in at least eight states have considered legislation this year dealing with recording police officers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Decades after adoption of term limits, political players debate their ...
Columbia Missourian
Fifteen states have limited terms, which exist in two general forms: consecutive and lifetime bans. Within the nine states with consecutive limits, a legislator can serve a limited number of years and then must switch chambers or leave the legislature for a "cooling off" period, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. After this period, they can run for re-election.
                  
States pre-emptively block EPA power plant regulation
San Angelo Standard Times
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 72 bills or resolutions related to the Environmental Protection Agency’s plans have surfaced in 27 states, spanning Alaska to Virginia, with 10 of the measures already enacted into law.
 
Talk turns to West Virginia taxes under the dome
State Journal
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, states lost about $23.3 billion in 2012 after being prohibited to collect sales tax from online and catalog purchases. A survey done by NCSL shows between 2008 and 2013, states closed a cumulative $527.7 billion budget gap through program reductions but raising taxes in a slow economy continues to be an unviable option for many states, including West Virginia. The NCSL survey says closing the loophole on the sales tax collection could provide many states with the option of using some of the additional revenue to offset federal spending reductions.

Texas Muslims on edge amid protests, contest attack
South Bend Tribune
But six bills addressing foreign laws, which opponents believe are anti-Muslim, are now pending in the Texas Legislature. Similar legislation banning judges from violating state and federal laws has been introduced this year in almost 20 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nine other states have passed them.
 
Tax Amnesty Programs Give Some Individuals and Businesses a Second Chance
CPAPracticeAdvisor.com 
"I think it's just kind of an easy way of plugging a budget hole. You get some revenue out of it, and if you don't do it too often, it's pretty effective," said Mandy Rafool, a state policy expert at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). "It doesn't generate much money," but "it's pretty painless," she added. So far, 10 states have instituted or are considering various tax amnesties this year, according to research compiled by the Council on State Taxation and the NCSL.
 
Pension program changes hurt economy, NCPERS report warns
Pensions & Investments
Between 2000 and 2013, 34 states increased employee contributions to pension plans, 38 instituted higher age and service requirements, 30 reduced cost-of-living adjustments and 18 took steps to convert to a defined contribution program, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, cited by NCPERS in its report.

May 8

Washington latest state to ban powdered alcohol
The Seattle Times
Washington joins at least seven other states that have prohibited powdered alcohol, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. More than two dozen other states have introduced bills this year to ban powdered alcohol, which was first patented in 1972 by General Foods but is not expected to be sold until later this year.
 
Where reproductive rights stand in the states, in 6 maps 
Washington Post 
But, as of June, a dozen states — Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island and West Virginia — had passed measures requiring insurers to cover infertility treatments, up from just nine in 2004, according to National Conference of State Legislatures data.
 
Hawaii enters national debate over future of ethanol in gas
Yahoo Finance
More than a dozen states have ethanol mandates, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks state government activity. No similar bills have been introduced elsewhere this year, the group said Wednesday, making Hawaii the second state to pass such a bill.

Make strides to fight childhood obesity through nutrition
Tucson Local Media
Followed by the state revision in 2006, the USDA created the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010. Under this new federal law, schools must reach specific nutrition standards in the meals they provide and will in return receive a six cent meal reimbursement increase for each lunch or breakfast that they serve, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
The spring semester that was 
UW Badger Herald 
In 23 states and the District of Columbia, medical marijuana is legal in some form, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and recreational marijuana is only legal in a handful of states.
 
Proposal to drug test public benefit recipients in Wisconsin advances from committee
The Cap Times - Madison
At least 12 states have passed similar laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Without ban, powdered alcohol likely coming to Texas
McAllen Monitor
Geren’s measure is one of 71 bills filed across 39 states and Washington, D.C., to somehow restrict powdered alcohol, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Texas Muslims on edge amid protests, contest attack
AZ Family
Similar legislation banning judges from violating state and federal laws has been introduced this year in almost 20 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nine other states have passed them.
 
Police: We want body cameras; need money to buy them
Des Moines Register
Legislatures in a majority of U.S. states this year are considering bills related to body cameras worn by law enforcement officers, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures.

May 7

Extras on Excise
Bloomberg BNA
Legislators in 39 states and DC have filed bills pertaining to powdered alcohol in the current legislative sessions so far, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Over the past few months, some significant blows for powdered alcohol proponents were struck. On March 30, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) signed H.B. 1031 into law. This measure authorizes the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Enforcement Division to create regulations for selling the product. Additionally, the bill requires an excise tax on powdered alcohol; the rate is $0.6026 for each liter of water that the drink’s packaging suggests using. This is the same rate as for distilled spirits.  
 
Huckabee's repeated claim that he passed '94 tax cuts' as governor 
Washington Post 
The report card uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau, National Association of State Budget Officers, National Conference of State Legislatures and each state’s budget offices of the governor and legislature. In most states, the report warns, the legislature and governor have had an equal influence on budget outcomes.
 
Hawaii enters national debate over future of ethanol in gas
Yahoo News
More than a dozen states have ethanol mandates, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks state government activity.
 
Interest in body cameras grows, but money lacking
DesMoinesRegister.com
Legislatures in a majority of U.S. states this year are considering bills related to body cameras worn by law enforcement officers, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. As of April 20, 117 bills in 34 state legislatures deal with body cameras. Arizona, North Dakota and Utah have enacted laws, according to the bipartisan organization. 
 
Legislators to get pay raise
The Colorado Statesman
Currently, Colorado’s lawmakers make $30,000 per year. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Colorado’s pay ranks at about the mid-point for all state legislatures.
 
Budget stabilization funds are important for Wisconsin
Advance Titan
According to the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau, there are 46 states with a budget stabilization fund. Each state is unique in how monies are deposited and withdrawn based on legislative or constitutional statutes. They are also created through constitutional or legislative approval, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Miramant to serve on group that represents states in Washington 
Courier-Gazette & Camden Herald 
Democratic Sen. Dave Miramant of Camden has been appointed to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee.
 
Texas Unlikely to Ban Powdered Alcohol This Session 
Texas Tribune 
Geren’s measure is one of 71 bills filed across 39 states and Washington, D.C., to somehow restrict powdered alcohol, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Texas Muslims on edge amid protests, shootings at contest
Casa Grande Valley Newspaper
Similar legislation banning judges from violating state and federal laws has been introduced this year in almost 20 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nine other states have passed them. 
 
Is your child's school vulnerable to measles?
azcentral.com
About 30 states prohibit philosophical exemptions, and Mississippi and West Virginia even prohibit religious exemptions, according to National Conference of State Legislatures data.
 
Explore the cozy relationship between Tennessee lawmakers and a ...
Chattanooga Times Free Press
With Republicans in full control of 30 state legislatures, ALEC now rivals the centrist, nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures in attendance at its meetings.

May 6

Lawmakers Grapple With Extending Highway Programs
CQ Roll Call
At the local and state level, transportation officials are concerned a short-term patch into July could create costly disruption for states trying to plan repairs before winter weather hits. “I cannot overstate the negative impacts this uncertainty [no long-term bill] creates,” said Curt Bramble, President Elect of the National Conference of State Legislatures and a Utah state senator, at the subcommittee hearing.
 
Colorado Democrats defeat fetal homicide bill filed after grisly attack on pregnant woman
Washington Times
At least 38 states have some kind of fetal homicide law, and 23 have laws that make it illegal to kill a child in utero from the earliest stages of gestation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

What's The Best Way To Police Political Campaigns?
Montana Public Radio
For a look at what other states are doing in this area, we turned to Peggy Kerns, who just retired from the National Conference of State Legislatures after sixteen years as director of the Center for Ethics in Government. Kerns says 42 states including Montana have some kind of independent ethics body; some even have separate commissions for state lawmakers, lobbyists, and judges. Montana’s system, with a single appointed commissioner, is rare, possibly unique, but she emphasizes that doesn’t mean it’s the wrong solution for Montana. “So there really isn’t any model out there that would be what anybody would call the perfect model," said Kerns. "There’s just different models, based on the culture and the needs of the state and what the state chose to do.” While Peggy Kerns avoids comparing the ethics enforcement of various states, she does single out one state for praise: Kentucky. Kerns says the Kentucky Ethics Commission has been so effective that the state has actually drawn criticism for having what some critics see as a suspiciously low number of ethics violations.

Hundreds of Arizona schools still skirting measles vaccination rules
azcentral.com
About 30 states prohibit philosophical exemptions, and Mississippi and West Virginia even prohibit religious exemptions, according to National Conference of State Legislatures data.

States move to ground voyeuristic drone flights
Bend Bulletin
In the past two years, at least seven states have outlawed the use of drones to violate privacy, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California is considering a bill that would expand trespassing laws to include piloting a drone within 350 feet above private property without permission.

Arkansas Lawmaker Named To National Hunger Group
Times Record
State Rep. Charlotte Vining Douglas, R-Alma, has been named to the Hunger Partnership of the National Conference of State Legislatures, according to a news release. Gilberto Soria Mendoza, policy specialist at the NCSL, said in the release that Douglas was chosen for the position because of her work in the state. “Rep. Douglas has served as the co-chair of the Arkansas Legislative Hunger Caucus for three years and has been a leader in the effort to engage more legislators,” Mendoza stated in the release. “She works tirelessly on a number of issues concerning her district, and we are honored to have her join the Hunger Partnership.”

Fighting childhood obesity though nutrition
Eastern Arizona Courier
Followed by the state revision in 2006, the USDA created the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010. Under this new federal law, schools must reach specific nutrition standards in the meals they provide and will in return receive a 6 cent meal reimbursement increase for each lunch or breakfast they serve, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Prophet cartoon shootings leave Muslims on edge as anti-Islamic sentiment grows in Texas
Minneapolis Star Tribune
But six bills addressing foreign laws, which opponents believe are anti-Muslim, are now pending in the Texas Legislature. Similar legislation banning judges from violating state and federal laws has been introduced this year in almost 20 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nine other states have passed them. 

Maine Democrats block bill to require voters to show photo ID
Press Herald
Approximately 30 states have adopted voter ID laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Peeping drones spur states to ground voyeuristic flights
Salt Lake Tribune
At least seven states have outlawed the use of drones to violate privacy, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

May 5

Dems push for same-day voter registration 
The Hill 
Ten states, plus the District of Columbia, currently allow eligible voters to do so, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Creeps Embrace a New Tool: Peeping Drones
Bloomberg
In the past two years, at least seven states have outlawed the use of drones to violate privacy, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California is considering a bill that would expand trespassing laws to include piloting a drone within 350 feet above private property without permission.
 
Missouri Senate Overrides Veto Of Welfare Restrictions Bill
Huffington Post
Another trend in welfare laws is requiring drug tests for welfare recipients, even though very few test positive. According to the National Conference on State Legislatures, 12 states, including Missouri, have passed such laws, and an additional dozen are considering doing so this year.
 
Sex Education or Sex Ignorance?
Huffington Post
The National Conference of State Legislators reports that only 19 states of the 22 that require sexual education, require that sex education must be medically, factually and technically accurate.
 
Wilmington restaurant faces PR meltdown after asking breast-feeding mom to cover up
The Times
Breast-feeding in public has been debated for decades, coming to a head in the last 10 years. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, every state but Idaho allows women to breast-feed in public and 29 states, including Illinois, specifically removes breast-feeding from public indecency laws.
 
Bike Passing Laws Around the US
My Champlain Valley FOX44 & ABC22
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) compiled a list of bike passing laws around the United States. According to NCSL, as of June 2014, 25 states have enacted three feet minimum passing laws. Pennsylvania is the only state with a four feet passing law. 19 other states have a general law that requires motorists pass at a "safe distance."

Big Fish Grille in Wilmington battling PR meltdown after owner asks ...
Kankakee Daily Journal
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, every state but Idaho allows women to breastfeed in public and 29 states, including Illinois, specifically removes breastfeeding from public indecency laws.

Public-private partnerships a good path for project funding in Michigan 
Crain's Detroit Business  
The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, in partnership with the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Center for Excellence in Project Finance at the American Association of State Highways and Transportation, recently held a workshop to assist state teams exploring how public-private partnerships, often called P3s, might be used to improve transportation infrastructure at a time when taxes alone will not provide all of the money needed for such a daunting task ahead.
 
Term limits could have unintended consequences for Mississippi Legislature 
Watchdog.org 
The wave of term limits eventually crested, and only 15 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, have term limits for state legislators. Four states, either by court action or by legislative action, scrapped their term limits. 
 
Gazette opinion: Putting vaping off-limits for Montana kids 
Billings Gazette 
Forty-two states already restrict children from buying and using electronic smoking devices, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures
 
We need random drug tests 
Salina.com 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ website, “at least 12 states have passed legislation regarding drug testing or screening for public assistance applicants or recipients.”
 
New Hampshire Bill Would Institute 30-Day Residency Requirement to Vote
The Daily Signal
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, few states allow same-day voter registration, and most require that voters register by a deadline preceding an election, “with most falling between eight and 30 days before the election.”
 
Political parties reach harmony in singing group 
BurlingtonFreePress.com 
It's unclear whether other state legislatures in the nation have a lawmaker singing group. Jake Lestock, policy associate for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said the Vermont group is the only legislative singing group he has heard of. The association does not track that information, Lestock said. 

May 4

Backsliding on school choice 
Chicago Tribune 
Some 39 states are mulling laws to give students more alternatives to neighborhood schools, up from 29 states last year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
States Struggle To Pay For Police Body Cameras 
Huffington Post 
As of April 20, 34 states were considering 117 bills related to police body cameras, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
 
Body camera debate ongoing nationwide
The Daily Nonpareil
Despite the growing demands, some state legislatures are coming out against broad disclosure policies. Among a flurry of 87 bills related to body cameras that have been introduced in 29 legislatures, 15 states are moving to limit what the public is allowed to see from the recordings.
In some cases, according to data The Times obtained from the National Conference of State Legislatures, lawmakers have sought to remove the videos from public records laws.
 
Four-day school weeks approved for five Minnesota districts
Minneapolis Star Tribune
It gained popularity during the 1970s energy crisis in the U.S., according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Twenty-one states have laws allowing four-day school weeks, according to NCSL data.
 
Six of Mayor Hafen's relatives on Henderson's payroll
Las Vegas Review-Journal
There is a long history of nepotism across the country that Congress and some state lawmakers only started trying to rein in during the 1880s, said Peggy Kerns, who has studied the issue for the National Conference of State Legislatures. “Really, in the 19th century, if you wanted to work for government, you supported the person and the campaign … and if you won, the job was the reward,” said Kerns, director of the conference’s Center for Ethics in Government. “And that included family, too.”
 
Rangel: Estes sets bill in anticipation of legal gay marriage
LubbockOnline.com
Texas is among the 14 states that have not legalized gay marriages, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Balanced Budget Amendment Passes First Round In General Assembly 
WFYI 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are more than 30 states whose constitution requires the legislature to pass a balanced budget.  

Arizona lawmakers tell cities they can't ban plastic bags 
Belleville News Democrat 
Florida already has made it illegal for municipalities to ban plastic bags, and lawmakers are considering similar legislation in Missouri and Texas, said Jennifer Schultz, a policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Senate passes ban on tanning for minors 
Foster's Daily Democrat 
A dozen other states ban tanning for people under 18, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
While effects are in question, vaping grows in Brevard
Florida Today
Forty-two states, including Florida, have banned the sale of e-cigarettes to people under 18, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

May 1

States Struggle to Pay for Police Body Cameras
PEW Stateline
President Barack Obama has called for $75 million in new federal spending to help pay for 50,000 police body cameras for local police departments. States are struggling with whether cameras should be worn all the time and whether the video should be a public record, which also can affect costs. As of April 20, 34 states were considering 117 bills related to police body cameras, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). So far, only a handful of states have figured out how to pay for them.
 
Arizona Lawmakers Tell Cities They Can't Ban Plastic Bags 
ABC News 
Florida already has made it illegal for municipalities to ban plastic bags, and lawmakers are considering similar legislation in Missouri and Texas, said Jennifer Schultz, a policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Mandatory Vaccine Bill Clears Another Hurdle in CA
Breitbart News
Currently only two states have neither a personal belief nor religious exemption for vaccinations required by the state for enrollment in school according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Ban on powdered alcohol proposed to legislators
MI News 26
At least six states have banned powdered alcohol, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and 30 others are currently considering bans.
 
Senate passes tanning bed teen ban on to Hassan
Concord Monitor
Nearly a dozen states, including California, Illinois and Louisiana, ban the use of tanning beds for minors, and roughly 40 states regulate the use of tanning facilities by teens, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
No consensus emerges on 'campus carry' at CSN town hall
Las Vegas Review-Journal
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures in information dated from February 2012, 23 states let universities make the call on carrying concealed weapons, 20 ban weapons and seven — including Utah, Colorado and Idaho — allow firearms to be carried with some limitations. 
 
Maine's revenge porn bill wins approval of legislative committee 
Press Herald 
The measure is one of at least a dozen proposed nationwide this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Since 2013, at least 13 states have enacted laws that ban revenge porn, which is also known as non-consensual pornography.
 
Texas economy could freeze up if school opportunities for undocumented are limited 
Fox News Latino 
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that only 18 states offer in-state tuition. Three states – Arizona, Georgia and Indiana – don’t offer it at all, and Alabama and South Carolina prohibit undocumented immigrants from enrolling at any public postsecondary institution.
 
NH Senate passes bill that prevents minors from tanning 
WMUR Manchester 
A dozen other states ban tanning for people under 18, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Wisconsin legislative panel considers proposal to test public benefit recipients for drug use 
Madison.com 
At least 12 states have passed similar laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
A Stirring Controversy
Legal Examiner
Before Palcohol could even hit store shelves, the National Conference of State Legislatures said six states have passed laws outlawing the product due to concerns over public consumption, safety, and potential risk for underage drinkers
 
State House committees hold hearing on medical marijuana
Pennsylvania Business Daily
State Reps. Matt Baker (R-Dist. 68), chairman of the House Health Committee, and Ron Marsico (R-Dist. 105), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee heard from representatives of at least 14 different organizations, along with members of their own respective legislative committees. Theses groups included, the National Conference of State Legislatures, …