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NCSL In The News: November 2010

NCSL in the News: 2010

NCSL in the News Archive: November 2010

Nov. 30

Dem state lawmakers defecting to GOP post-election
"This was a wave election," said Tim Storey, an elections expert with the National Conference of State Legislatures. "So you will probably see that wave continue with even more Democrats moving over as the impact of the election settles in."  AP in the Atlanta Journal Constitution

New faces learn State House ropes as four-day training begins
At another session, Gene Rose, director of communications for the National Conference of State Legislatures, talked about the importance of continuing to communicate with voters.  He also gave hints about dealing with the media.  He explained that when talking to a reporter, everything is on the record and could end up in the newspaper or on television.  "When you are talking to a reporter, it's a presentation, not a conversation," he said. "Once you open your mouth to a reporter -- it's fair game."  Kennebec Journal

States weigh cap-and-trade market spanning North America
Of the six states in the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord -- Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin -- Democrats lost the governor’s race or control of the legislature to Republicans in five, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bloomberg

Nov. 29

Online sales tax loophole costs Wisconsin
The political stomach to close the loophole just hasn't been there, said Neal Osten, director of the Washington office for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "One of the things we're hoping is with the states' fiscal conditions getting worse, this is something Congress can do for them to collect extra revenue that doesn't cost a penny out of the federal treasury." Green Bay Press Gazette

Jindal says Congress should work part-time
In 17 states, including Utah, New Hampshire, North Dakota and South Dakota, lawmakers work part-time, making an average of $16,000 and relying on other sources of income for a living, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Fox News

Lots of Inland scenarios as redistricting panel begins work
"There's a sense that no one knows how it will work and will it work," said Tim Storey, a redistricting expert at the National Conference of State Legislatures. "Can they get nine votes to come up with plans that satisfy everyone?" Press-Enterprise

Court trying to determine how to get Lambert back to Tennessee to be evaluated
Katie Boyer, a policy associate for the Forum for State Health Policy Leadership for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said that though her organization has not analyzed the insanity acquittal in particular, she has not seen another state with a statute similar to Tennessee’s new one. TriCities.com

How to double your gift card sales
Experience gift cards follow state law for the maximum amount of time until expiration. For more information about your state law, see the National Conference of State Legislatures. Inc.com

Harwell selection good for women
The combined percentage of women legislators to the total of those elected is 18.2 percent, which is below the national average of 24.2 percent, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Knoxville News Sentinel

Analysis: Nation's diversity reflected in 2010 elections
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Republicans now control 53 percent -- roughly 3,900 -- legislative seats around the country, their highest percentage since 1928. Alexandria Town Talk

Men’s club redux?
The percentage of American state lawmakers who are women will shrink to 23 percent in 2011, down slightly from almost 25 percent in 2010, says a new report by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Providence Journal

Chemists find their way around K2 ban
According to the National Conference of State Legislators, possession of products like K2 in Missouri receive the same treatment as a marijuana possession. KOMU-TV

Saving the future?
Meanwhile, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported that no other state relied more heavily on stimulus dollars during the 2010 fiscal year to close its budget shortfall than Texas. Las Vegas Sun

Nov. 24

Strapped states to Hollywood: stay home
Now, as states face a total of $72 billion in budget deficits in their coming fiscal years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, some are concluding Hollywood gets a lot more than it gives. Business Week

Don't expect independent group to draw new districts
Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures told a recent gathering of state political reporters called Capitolbeat in Phoenix that the data will be rolled out by April 1, 2011.  Burlington Times News

Unemployment extension Nov 2010 voted down
The Nutmeg State has stayed within the national average for their rate of unemployed. It is not good, but it could be worse, like Nevada with 14.2 percent unemployed, according to the NCSL.  Examiner.com

Nov. 23

No more Gran Torinos for states losing $3.5 billion in revenues
In the next fiscal year, states will face $72 billion in budget deficits, the National Conference of State Legislatures estimates. Bloomberg

Health reforms mean majority of Idahoans could have government insurance
State lawmakers on the task force also heard from Joy Wilson, the health care policy director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. She said the new Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives has the health care plan in its cross hairs.  Idaho Congressman-elect Raul Labrador has said he wants to repeal the law, but Wilson said that’s easier said than done. “The fastest way to slow down health reform would be through the appropriations process,” Wilson told lawmakers. Idaho Reporter

Make ethics reforms worthy
Across the country, 37 states give their ethics commissions the ability to subpoena records and witnesses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Huntsville Times

GOP says too late to redistrict now
Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures told a recent gathering of state political reporters called Capitolbeat in Phoenix that the data will be rolled out by April 1.  Storey said that states would likely need to allow for about 120 to 180 days for Justice Department approval under the Voting Rights Act.  ENC Today and New Bern Sun Journal

Nov. 22

Should Wisconsin have part-time legislature?
The National Conference of State Legislatures lists 10 states with full-time lawmakers. Wisconsin is the smallest of the 10, in population, but it's eighth in compensation.  WISN Milwaukee

Redistricting likely to help GOP
Republicans are in charge in 21 states, and 17 legislatures are split, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  U.S. News & World Report

Alabama trails many states in ethics laws
Nine states prohibit a lobbyist from buying anything for a public official, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. "They ban everything," said Natalie O'Donnell Wood, a senior policy specialist for NCSL's Center for Ethics in Government.  The Birmingham News in AL.com

States' rights battles rage in Old Dominion
Republicans have added more than 675 seats in state legislatures during this election cycle and have flipped chambers from Democratic to Republican control in at least 13 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Washington Examiner

Rising tax collections make states optimistic
"We'll know by early January how the sales tax played out for states," said Arturo Perez, a fiscal analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. NCSL is scheduled to release a report on state fiscal conditions at its annual fall forum Dec. 8-10 in Phoenix. The Tennessean and Lexington Herald Leader

Community, school cope with teen's suicide
Nearly 20 percent of high school students have seriously considered suicide and more than 14 percent have made actual plans, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The organization is researching possible legal methods to address the problem. Heritage Newspapers

Nov. 19

Arizona's convicted officials still get pension from the state
These "bad boy" laws appeal to the public, but there's an argument against such legislation, said Ron Snell, director of state services for the conference. Snell said someone in the private sector committing the same crime is not expected to forfeit a pension earned on the job.  "There's a question of justice and whether this is a form of vengeance rather than equal punishment," Snell said. The Arizona Republic

Oklahoma legislators receive $2.5 million on top of salaries over two years
The $150 per diem Oklahoma legislators were paid last year is lower than the national average of $182 a day, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. NewsOK.com

New Jersey high court rejects bid to recall U.S. senator
Citizens in some states can attempt to remove local or state officials before the end of their term in office by holding a recall election. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 18 states allow recall elections for state officials.  Reuters

Inaugural 2010 ready by 21 champion award winners announced at the big tent conference
The Ready by 21 National Partnerships includes the following organizations: The Forum for Youth Investment, United Way Worldwide, The American Association of School Administrators, America’s Promise Alliance, Corporate Voices for Working Families, The National Collaboration for Youth, The National Conference of State Legislatures, and The Search Institute.  PRWeb

Nov. 18

Texas borrows $1.2 billion to repay U.S. for jobless benefits: muni credit
With the Republicans poised to take control of the House of Representatives in January, it may be difficult to keep the interest-free loan program in place after their criticism of Obama’s stimulus, said Michael Bird, a senior federal affairs counsel for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg

Legislators, surplus lines groups weigh a lighter SLIMPACT tax deal
Representatives of The Council of State Governments (CSG), NAIC, North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), and National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) are expected to participate in the NCOIL Summit on Friday. Insurance Journal

States look to Santa for revenue gift
“We’ll know by early January how the sales tax played out for states,” says Arturo Perez, a fiscal analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures.  NCSL is scheduled to release a report on state fiscal conditions at its annual fall forum Dec. 8-10 in Phoenix.  Stateline.org

House Democratic caucus elects leadership for 146th general Assembly
The Delaware House of Representatives was the only state House in the country to gain Democratic seats in the Nov. 2 election, and one of only five state legislative chambers where Democrats picked up seats – the state Senates in Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are the others, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Dover Post

Legal marijuana-like substance faces harsh scrutiny
And other state lawmakers are acting quickly to curb the growing availability and use of these substances by passing laws to designate certain synthetic cannabinoids as controlled substances and outlaw their possession or distribution, according to The National Conference of State Legislatures. Afro American

Nov. 17

States left without easy answers on Medicaid
“I know that is a predicament in some of the states,” said Rachel Morgan, Senior Policy Specialist with the National Conference of State legislatures. “Each individual state is going to be very unique in how they address the situation.”  Watchdog

Uncertain path leads to golden years
"More states have enacted significant retirement legislation in 2010 than in any other year in history," said Ronald Snell, the NCSL's expert on public pension plans. Hawaii was not one of them. "Lots of states did act and we expect them to continue to do so," he said.  Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Delaware House Democratic Caucus elects leadership for upcoming legislative session
The Delaware House of Representatives was the only state House in the country to gain Democratic seats in the November 2 election, and one of only five state legislative chambers where Democrats picked up seats – the state Senates in Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are the others, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  WGMD

Tea party sets its sights on local elections for next two years
In this year's elections, Republicans gained 675 legislative seats according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. One or both chambers of the statehouse switched from blue to red in 13 states.  Watchdog

Redistricting process to start in Arizona
The state is among 20 states that have commissions for primary, backup or advisory redistricting roles, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Mohave Valley News

Nov. 16

GOP gains at least 680 state legislative seats, says NCSL’s bipartisan analysis
“2010 will go down as a defining political election that shapes the national political landscape for at least the next 10 years,” says Tim Storey, elections specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).  Texas Insider

Hawaii's incumbents know how to buck trends
The National Conference of State Legislatures did the math last week and reports that Republicans control 3,890, or 53 percent, of the total state legislative seats in America, the most seats in the GOP column since 1928.  Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Commission studying pension and retiree benefits plans public hearing today
Because of ballooning costs in public employee plans across the country, 20 states this year made changes in their retirement systems, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Citybizlist

Nov. 15

Election Day a sad one for women
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Nov. 2 elections will reduce the number of women legislators nationwide from 1,808 to 1,693 of 7,382 seats next year.  Detroit Free Press

Everybody's thinking about remap
Not all of those seats will automatically become Republican or Democratic. There are always swing districts up for grabs because neither party can afford to too thinly dilute their established territory.  "You've got to be careful," said Tim Storey, an analyst with the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. "If you go hog-wild, it can wind up backfiring on you."  Chicago Tribune

The Republican takeover in the states
Democrats are in full command in 11 states, down from 16, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).  The Washington Post

New governors: budget cuts not tax hikes
States have increased taxes by more than $32 billion over the past two years, said Todd Haggerty, policy associate at the National Conference of State Legislatures.  CNN Money

Wyoming legislative panel backs sex offender law change
Only four states are currently in compliance with federal guidelines specified in the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Billings Gazette

Why Dennis Kucinich has a target on his back
District borders are only part of the election equation. “You still have to have good candidates [and] good campaigns,” says Tim Storey, senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures. But redistricting can give certain candidates a “head start,” as Storey puts it.  Newsweek

Moody’s economist sees hopeful signs on recovery
Arturo Perez, a fiscal affairs expert with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said states are collectively facing budget gaps that total half a trillion dollars in the coming years.  Boston Herald and St. Augustine Record

Redistricting hype blurs reality
Applying this estimate to the next round of redistricting—when Republicans are expected to control the shape of between 120 and 150 more congressional seats than Democrats, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures—translates into an edge of seven to nine seats.  The Wall Street Journal

Patty Berg's institute to kick off training session
The institute is also designed to serve as a model for other states and is joined by two national partners: The National Conference of State Legislatures Foundation and the Center for American Women and Politics, a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University in New Jersey.  Contra Costa Times

Get fired up
Georgia imposes a 37-cent sales tax on each pack of cigarettes sold in the state. That's the fourth lowest in the nation, according to statistics from the National Conference of State Legislators.  Savannah Morning News

Mapping out common ground
“Republicans are in the best shape for the decennial line-drawing that they have been in since the modern era of redistricting began in the 1970s,” Storey writes.  Gaston Gazette

California's woes In perspective
California is one of only nine states where revenues are projected to be higher this year than last, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. That may be, says NCSL's Arturo Perez, because we hit the trough of declining revenues earlier than many states.  Capital Notes

Republicans made historic gains in state legislatures
The National Conference of State Legislatures has this summary of the election results for state legislative races earlier this month.  Ballot Access

Kansas Department of Administration compiles list of state assets; sale of properties possible
Arturo Perez, a fiscal analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said there are examples across the nation of governments selling, or proposing to sell, revenue-generating assets to private companies for upfront cash.  De Soto Explorer

Oklahoma County's Democrats searching for answers after last week's losses
Oklahoma is one of 20 states where Republicans will control the governor’s office and both legislative chambers next year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  NewsOK.com

GOP state gains expected to have broad impact on physicians
The GOP now has majorities in 25 legislatures, the Democrats have 16, and the rest are split or remain undecided, according to preliminary results reported by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  American Medical News

Illinois: Residents weigh in on civil unions
Currently, 11 states recognize homosexual relationships with civil unions, same-sex marriage or domestic partnerships, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Kankakee Daily Journal

Health benefits on chopping block
Maryland pays more into employee health plans than 28 other states -- including Virginia -- according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Washington Examiner

State legislators look To ban K2
Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee have already banned K2, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  WFMY News

Expert: 'One or two' of Texas' three or four new seats in Congress will be Democratic seats
"In Texas, they're going to have to draw Democratic districts," Storey said. "... One or two of those are probably going to have to be Democratic, because that's where the population is growing. Not that they're drawing Democratic districts, but they have to draw them where the people are."  Dallas Morning News
http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2010/11/expert-one-or-two-of-texas-thr.html

Martinez might find resistance to new state police corruption unit
In fact, New Mexico is one of a handful of states without a commission. More than 40 already have one, including many of New Mexico’s neighbors such as Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Nevada, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The New Mexico Independent

13 US senators and representatives visited Kotel
Thirteen US senators and representatives visited the Kotel and the Western Wall Tunnels on Sunday as part of the National Conference of State Legislatures study tour to Israel, led by delegation head Senator Richard Moore (D-MA).  Jerusalem Post

Republicans near extinction in Hawaii Senate
No other legislative body in the country has just one Republican or one Democrat, according to statistics gathered by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  AP in the Washington Post and Honolulu Star-Advertiser

GOP may sway 2010 redistricting
Tim Storey, a redistricting expert at the National Conference of State Legislatures, estimates that Republicans will have unilateral control over the redrawing of 195 congressional districts. Democrats have just 45.  AP in NewsOK.com

Number of former athletes in Legislature increases
Republicans hold about 3,890, or 53 percent, of the total state legislative seats nationwide, the most since 1928, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Gadsden Times

Nov. 12

Razor-thin margins could bring gridlock to Oregon
Ties in Legislatures aren't rare--every even-year election since 1966 has produced at least one tied chamber in the U.S., according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP in The Washington Post

Landslide surprised even GOP insiders
As of 2002, the average Senate district had 16,459 people, while the average House district had just 8,230 people, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Billings Gazette

Public pensions, private providers
States collectively face a $72 billion shortfall in their budgets this coming year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Victorville Daily Press

A Wall Street gimmick that soaks taxpayers
States will face budget gaps of $72 billion next fiscal year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Business Week

Allscripts boss, D.C. reporter say GOP unlikely to roll back HITECH
If any reduction in government spending on EMRs will happen, it's likely to happen at the state level, where the GOP now controls 53 percent of state legislative seats nationwide, according to Tim Storey, senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislators. FierceEMR

Nov. 11

Isle economy full of bright spots
The National Conference of State Legislatures issued a report last summer updating the budget outlook in various states. Honolulu Star-Advertiser

The 1099 Democrats
As to the future, look at a map done by the National Conference of State Legislatures showing state-level party control now. The southeastern states, one of the most economically vibrant regions of the country, is wholly red. The Wall Street Journal

Pro-gay marriage, pro-abortion pols massacred
"The sheer magnitude of the Republican victory was the big surprise," said Tim Storey, an elections analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Fredericksburg.com

In many states, single-party government is on the horizon
No more than six states are likely to have split legislatures, with one party controlling one chamber and the opposite party running the other. The last time there were nearly that few split legislatures was 1982, when eight were split, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Bellingham Herald

Nov. 10

States And Cities Pay Wall Street $4 Billion To Exit Bad Deals
They come at a time when states face budget shortfalls of about $72 billion, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Huffington Post

Internet sales-tax dodge darkens the future of bricks-and-mortar businesses
Meanwhile, the National Conference of State Legislatures is among several organizations pushing the Main Street Fairness Act. That's a bill in Congress designed to overcome the "welter of complicated obligations" problem outlined by the U.S. Supreme Court by creating a uniform set of sales tax guidelines among the states.  Chicago Tribune

States expected to push for limits on federal debt
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates Republicans will hold the highest number of state legislative seats since 1928.  White Mountain Independent

Bring early voting to Virginia elections
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 32 states and the District of Columbia offer no-excuse voting.  The Virginian-Pilo

Republican pads lead in state Senate race
The National Conference of State Legislatures says records back to the mid-1960s show that some states have seen ties in one chamber or the other of their legislatures, but not in both simultaneously.  Coos Bay World

Wall Street Collects $4 Billion From Taxpayers as Swaps Backfire
The termination payments to Wall Street firms come at the worst possible time. The longest recession since the Great Depression left states facing budget gaps of $72 billion next fiscal year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg

 

Nov. 9

New state GOP leaders itching to get started
The last time there were nearly that few split legislatures was 1982, when eight were split, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Stateline.org

Republican pads lead in race for Oregon Senate
The National Conference of State Legislatures says records back to the mid-1960s show that some states have seen ties in one chamber or the other of their legislatures, but not in both simultaneously.  Statesman Journal

Here comes 2012, with incivility intact
"The Republicans really swamped the Democrats," says an analyst for the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. "That puts the Republicans in the best position to control redistricting since modern [methods of] remapping began in the 1970s." The Washington Times

A small profile in courage
State budgets are also facing significant strains. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, half the states resorted to tax increases in 2009. The Brown Daily Herald

The 2010 election was a call to cut public pensions
States collectively face a $72 billion shortfall in their budgets this coming year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And they have enough money to cover only 76 percent of their pension obligations.  Christian Science Monitor

Straight ticket votes reach 10-year high in Texas' largest counties
Only 16 states have a straight ticket option, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Since 2006, New Hampshire and Missouri have abolished straight ticket voting.  Fort Worth Star Telegram

'Stimulus' funds given to states will start to disappear in June
What happens late next year "is the million-dollar question," said Arturo Perez, a budget analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. "The best news for states over the last two years has been federal stimulus money, and they realize that's coming to an end," he said. Alexandria Town Talk

Women legislators hold steady in state
The number of women legislators declined nationwide after Tuesday’s elections, according to recent studies by Rutgers University and the National Conference of State Legislatures. Columbia Daily Tribune

Redistricting: Republicans in charge to re-draw Congressional, legislative districts
Tim Storey, senior fellow with the National Conference of State Legislatures, projects that as few as four to six statehouses will have one party in control of one chamber and the other chamber in the hands of the opposing party.  Texas Insider

Independents put stamp on divided government
Republican gains in statehouses across America were at least as striking as those in the Congress, according to data compiled by the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.  Coos Bay World

GOP election wins come at crucial time
Tim Storey, a redistricting expert at the National Conference of State Legislatures, estimates that Republicans will have unilateral control over the redrawing of 195 congressional districts. Democrats have just 45.  Columbia Daily Tribune

Nov. 8

Now in power, G.O.P. vows cuts in state budgets
To solve deficits in the last few years, many states have already made drastic cuts and raised taxes (half the states raised taxes in 2009, netting more than $28 billion, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures). The New York Times

Besides seats, GOP wins sway in 2010 redistricting
"Even in a state where you don't gain or lose, you still have to redraw the lines," Storey said. "Once you open up Pandora's box, anything can happen. It could be just as rough and tumble in a state that has the same number than a state that gains or loses."  NPR

EMR money might be safe in unpredictable post-election landscape
“Revenue projections are showing some glimmer of recovery, but stimulus money is running out at the same time. Whatever revenue increases we’re seeing are going to largely be for backfill for losing stimulus,” and there is going to be pushback on the healthcare reform law, said Storey. “Everything is going to be cast through the fiscal prism” with states facing “very hard choices about what they can fund.”  Cardiovascular Business

How the new Congress will get tough on feds
Last year, at least 30 states turned to furloughs or layoffs to cut costs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Federal Times

Sticker shock hits sickbed bills
Thirty states have some kind of law aimed at making hospital charges reportable and transparent, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Chattanooga Times Free Press

Missouri bucks trend, elects more women to statehouse
The number of women legislators declined nationwide after the Nov. 2 elections, according to recent studies by Rutgers University and the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Belleville News Democrat and the Kansas City Star

Independents put their stamp on Oregon election results
Republican gains in statehouses across America were at least as striking as those in the Congress, according to data compiled by the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.  Northwest Cable News

The state legislative tsunami
A post-election map from Tim Storey at the National Conference of State Legislatures gives an eye-popping idea of the geographical spread of Republican control in state legislatures.  Enter Stage Right

Besides seats, GOP wins sway in 2010 redistricting
Storey said the Republican gains cannot be discounted but that it might not be as grand as the party is claiming.  "I think you can overstate it and I think you can understate it," Storey said. "I think the truth is in the middle somewhere."  The News-Herald

Whirlwind of change in all branches of government
Analysts from the National Conference of State Legislatures offered their insights not only about what happened, but what it means for states in the next two years.  Statesman Journal

County’s reps eye fixes for budget
Republicans control both houses in Alabama and North Carolina for the first time since the Reconstruction era, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Northwest Herald

Election adds pressure to change public employee pensions
Six states offer defined contribution benefits as an option, and eight states have instituted hybrid or combined 401(k)-style and fixed benefit plans, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures  St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Get ready for high stakes hide and seek
Here's an eye-catching number: 680. That's the minimum number of new Republican state legislators, the biggest gain by either party since 1966, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Plain Dealer

GOP wave ran deep in local elections
The legislative numbers reflected a national trend. Across the country, Republicans gained 680 seats, a modern record, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Louisville Courier-Journal

Big perk for GOP in state election wins: more power in redistricting
“2010 will go down as a defining political election that will shape the national political landscape for at least the next 10 years,” said Tim Storey, elections specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Republican Party "finds itself now in the best position for both congressional and state legislative line drawing than it has enjoyed in the modern era of redistricting.”  Christian Science Monitor

California rejects legal marijuana as Washington defeats income tax plan
“There is an undercurrent running in California of people who were hoping that Prop 19 might mobilize young voters and Democrats and that that might help candidates in California,” Jennie Bowser, an elections analyst at the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures, said in a telephone interview. Bloomberg

Nov. 5

Obama sparks largest electoral backlash since Watergate
Republicans picked up 680 seats in state legislatures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures — the most in the modern era.  Atlanta Journal Constitution

Next year's gerrymandering free-for-all
"The GOP, in dramatic fashion, finds itself now in the best position for both congressional and legislative line-drawing than it has enjoyed in the modern era," says Tim Storey, elections specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Wall Street Journal

Republican states of mind
“Democrats are certainly not at their lowest point in terms of total legislative seats, but it’s a much different landscape than it was prior to the election,” said Tim Storey, an elections analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Still, Storey described the Republican gain overall in the context of “really historic proportions.”  Portfolio.com

Wave gives GOP upper hand in drawing election map
According to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, Republicans will now hold about 53 percent of the total state legislative seats across the country. Republicans gained at least 680 seats, the largest gain by either party since 1966, said NCSL. MSNBC.com

Democrat Quinn wins race for governor of Illinois, AP reports
States have curbed spending, cut jobs and raised taxes to deal with what the National Conference of State Legislatures says is almost $84 billion in budget deficits this fiscal year, following the longest recession since the Great Depression. Bloomberg

If Senate flips, it will be part of a national trend
The National Conference of State Legislatures has been looking at statehouse races nationwide, and the GOP sweep of Congress appears to be resounding in state capitols as well.  Albany Times Union

Republican election gains and the impact on redistricting
Tim Storey, with the National Conference of State Legislatures, says Republicans will be in the driver’s seat when states redraw districts next year.  “The success by Republicans on Tuesday night really positions them for the upcoming redistricting cycle in the best position they’ve been in since the modern era of redistricting began. So Republicans are really optimistic their wins will carry through for more than this one election because they’ll have an advantage in redistricting.”  Free Speech Radio News

State legislatures see big changes
NPR's Michele Norris talks to Tim Storey, elections analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures, about the big changes in numerous state legislatures throughout the country.  NPR

Impressions from a historic election
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Republicans now control 55 chambers, Democrats have 38, and one is tied. National Review

Ballot measures that passed, and the ones that didn't
On Here and Now, Jennie Drage Bowser of the National Conference of State Legislators spoke to Robin Young about the ballot measures that passed, and the ones that didn't, in the recent midterm elections.  Public Radio International

House Minority Leader Sam Smith advocates a smaller legislature
Only New Hampshire's state House has more members (400) - but that is a citizen-legislature, with each member paid $200 for a two-year term, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Philadelphia Inquirer

Redistricting
Indeed, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported following the election that Republicans now hold 53 percent of the total of state legislative seats in America, putting it in the strongest position for legislative line drawing in the modern era of redistricting.  Evansville Courier & Press

States easing restrictions against ex-convicts
Voters turned over 680 legislative seats and flipped at least one chamber in a dozen states. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Republicans now have the most control over state governments since 1928.  Chicago Defender

Voters stand up, tell states to stand down
“The electorate took strong stands on fiscal issues,” said Jennie Drage Bowser, NCSL’s ballot measure expert in a statement. “In some cases, though, the messages were mixed.”  Fox Business

SC GOP begins to extend its reach
“2010 will go down as a defining political election that will shape the national political landscape for at least the next 10 years,” said Tim Storey, NCSL elections specialist.  The Augusta Chronicle

Nov. 4

Will redistricting be a bloodbath for Democrats?
The gains were truly of "historic proportions," said Tim Storey, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures.  ABC News

Despite debt fears, voters OK most state bond measures
“It all goes back to the cliché, ‘all politics is local,’” says Gene Rose, communications director for the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver." Stateline.org

Shifting of power likely to rattle state houses
The party will control 25 legislatures, boosting its power in state houses by the most since 1928, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Boston Globe

Why 2010 election helps GOP in 2012
"The Republican Party finds itself in the best position for both congressional and state legislative redistricting that it's ever enjoyed, certainly in the modern era of redistricting," said Tim Storey, elections analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures.  WorldNetDaily.com

Voters limit U.S. state tax hikes, budget battles
"Though there were fewer voter-driven measures on the ballot this year, the electorate took strong stands on fiscal issues," said Jennie Drage Bowser, who follows ballot measures for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "In some cases, though, the messages were mixed."  Reuters

Facing big deficits, a dozen new governors rule out tax hikes
Although exact budget gaps for next year aren’t yet known, the National Conference of State Legislatures estimates a collective national shortfall of $72 billion.  Stateline.org

Election adds pressure to change public pensions
So far, only two states — Alaska and Michigan — have adopted 401(k)-style public pension systems as their primary plan. Six states offer defined contribution benefits as an option and eight states have instituted hybrid or combined 401(k)-style and fixed benefit plans, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Stateline.org

The Down Ballot Rout
We can combine the gubernatorial results with the state legislative results to get a read on which parties control which state governments. The following maps are from the National Conference of State Legislatures.  This was the picture before election day.  The Weekly Standard

Hospital bugs kill 99,000 U.S. patients each year, Utah's numbers are secret
Dangerous viruses and bacteria infect 1.7 million patients and kill 99,000 people every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  At least one-third of these deaths are preventable, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  ABC 4 News (Utah)

The election results are in
The Washington-based National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the Washington-based U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) were following the results, and their ramifications, online Wednesday morning.  American City and County

Insuring your car or home? Your credit history can cost you
States are also turning their attention to insurance scores. More than 27 states have introduced legislation regarding the use of credit information in insurance, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Fox Business

GOP wave reaches crest in Summit
''It was pretty much a Republican sweep across the country,'' said Tim Storey, an elections analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. ''It's the biggest shift in the country since Watergate, and it leaves Republicans with the most seats since 1928.''  Akron Beacon Journal

Federal 'stimulus' given to states starts to disappear in June
What happens late next year "is the million-dollar question," said Arturo Perez, a budget analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. "The best news for states over the last two years has been federal stimulus money, and they realize that's coming to an end," he said. Alexandria Town Talk

3 big election stories in the South
That GOP now controls seven of 13 Southern state legislatures, and splits control in two more (Kentucky and Virginia). Here's a map from the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Facing South

Tis the season for black sea bass
In fact, today 10 states guarantee the right to hunt and fish in their constitutions according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. EastBayRI.com

N.C. joins many state legislative chambers in power shift
After Tuesday’s elections, Republicans will control at least 54 state House and Senate chambers across the country, 18 more than before the elections, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Winston-Salem Journal

Judges get more power to restrict bail
At least a dozen other states, including California and Florida, have constitutional clauses or statutes that allow judges to deny bail for charges other than capital crimes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Spokesman Review
 

Nov. 3

Obama's healthcare goals get tougher with GOP wins
For Arizona and Oklahoma — along with Missouri, which rejected the mandate in August —the courts must decide the matte because the U.S. Constitution prohibits state law from preempting federal law, said Jennie Bowser, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. Bowser said it was “a surprisingly bad night for medical marijuana,” as voters in Arizona and South Dakota rejected measures to legalize the substance for medical purposes, and Oregon voters rejected a measure to allow marijuana to be sold in dispensaries. Modern Health Care

Republicans sweep to victory in House, make gains in Senate and the states
At least 18 chambers flipped to GOP control, giving Republicans their highest numbers since 1928, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. National Journal

Major anti-tax measures fail
A trio of controversial tax initiatives in Colorado failed, as did an effort to slash sales taxes in Massachusetts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. CNN Money

Republicans gain clout in state-level offices
The party that controls the White House typically loses seats in state legislative mid-terms, and analysts expected that pattern to hold this year. As the results rolled in Tuesday night, Democrats were facing major losses, said Tim Storey, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nonpartisan research organization in Denver, Colo. “The Republican wave in the states is perhaps even stronger than it is at the federal level,” Mr. Storey said. Those gains, he added, could put GOP legislators “in range of historic, post-World War II levels of control.” Education Week

Republicans see major wins in US governorships
The National Conference of State Legislatures reported that Republicans were headed for historic control of state legislatures, and might reach or exceed a 60-year high in the party's nationwide total of statehouse seats. Monsters and Critics

Republicans win most legislative seats in generations
Tim Storey, senior fellow with the National Conference of State Legislatures, projects that as few as four to six statehouses will have one party in control of one chamber and the other chamber in the hands of the opposing party. Stateline.org

Republican election wave hits U.S. state houses
Republicans took control of at least 17 chambers from Democrats, according to Tim Storey, an elections analyst at the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. "The Republicans really swamped the Democrats," he said on Wednesday, adding that Republicans will be in the best position for controlling congressional redistricting since the modern era of remapping began in the 1970s. Reuters

California pot, Washington income tax lose at polls
“There is an undercurrent running in California of people who were hoping that Prop 19 might mobilize young voters and Democrats and that that might help candidates in California,” Jennie Bowser, an elections analyst at the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures, said in a telephone interview. Business Week

Republicans win most governorships, sweep Midwest
“The two major parties are keenly aware that they have to go all-out on these state elections this year because redistricting will have a major impact on the control of the House going forward,” said Tim Storey, who follows redistricting for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg

Californians reject effort to suspend climate law
"Proposition 23 is a really significant initiative, not just for California, but for the nation as a whole," said Jennie Drage Bowser of the non-partisan National  Conference of State Legislatures. She said it could affect whether Congress passes legislation to tackle climate change. USA Today Blog

California rejects legalizing marijuana as Washington defeats income tax
“There is an undercurrent running in California of people who were hoping that Prop 19 might mobilize young voters and Democrats and that that might help candidates in California,” Jennie Bowser, an elections analyst at the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures, said in a telephone interview. Bloomberg

STATES: The GOP splash makes local ripples
"Clearly, midterm elections are largely a referendum on the president at the time," says Tim Storey, an election analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures. National Public Radio

Washington state rejects income tax on wealthiest residents
Washington is one of seven states, including Florida and Nevada, that don’t have income taxes, according to the Denver- based National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg

Republicans add governors to advance toward state majority
“The two major parties are keenly aware that they have to go all out on these state elections this year because redistricting will have a major impact on the control of the House going forward,” said Tim Storey, who follows redistricting for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg

Calif. measure to legalize marijuana is defeated
Despite the presence of many high-profile, anti-tax ballot measures across the country, many of them stood little chance of passing, said Jennie Drage Bowser, senior fellow and elections analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. "They're not put on the ballot by a big band of dedicated volunteers. There's big money behind it," Bowser said. "Their presence on the ballot is not indicative of a strong anti-government mood. Their passage [Tuesday] would be - and that would be unusual." Washington Post

Measure on pot headed to defeat
Despite the presence of many high-profile, anti-tax ballot measures across the country, many of them stood little chance of passing, said Jennie Drage Bowser, senior fellow and elections analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. "They're not put on the ballot by a big band of dedicated volunteers. There's big money behind it," Bowser said. "Their presence on the ballot is not indicative of a strong anti-government mood. Their passage would be - and that would be unusual." Herald Tribune

Dismal state economy whittles down services
South Carolina's budget crisis isn't unique, but statistics show the state isn't likely to rebound as quickly as some others. South Carolina -- where unemployment in some counties has topped 20 percent -- is one of about six states projecting flat revenue growth in the next year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Post and Courier

Wash. judges get more authority to restrict bail
At least a dozen other states, including California and Florida, have constitutional clauses or statutes that allow judges to deny bail for charges other than capital crimes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Seattle Times

Variety of proposals on ballots in 37 states
In all, 37 states offered 160 ballot proposals, and the initiatives had no single unifying theme this November, unlike in 2004 and 2006, when voters saw same-sex marriage dominate ballots, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. CNN

Redistricting big prize for legislatures
When the dust settles, voters on Tuesday will have decided more than 80 percent of the country's 7,382 seats contested in state legislatures, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported on its Web site.  UPI.com

Republicans eye redistricting prize
The bad news continues for Democrats: Republicans at the local level rode big midterm waves to gain control of the state House in Indiana and Ohio, the New Hampshire Senate and both chambers of the North Carolina legislature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures – an early shift that could put the GOP in the driver’s seat when the congressional redistricting process begins early next year. Politico

State races to redraw lines of power in Washington
"The theme for the Democrats is what goes up must come down," said Tim Storey, an elections analyst at the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, noting the party in control of the White House has lost state legislative seats in 25 of 27 midterm elections since 1900. Reuters

States take up ballot measures
Despite the presence of many high-profile, anti-tax ballot measures across the country, many of them stood little chance of passing, said Jennie Drage Bowser, senior fellow and elections analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
"They're not put on the ballot by a big band of dedicated volunteers. There's big money behind it," Bowser said. "Their presence on the ballot is not indicative of a strong anti-government mood. Their passage [Tuesday] would be - and that would be unusual." The Washington Post

Election stakes high for education policy, spending
The winners of those contests will also be working with state legislative chambers that have gone through a significant churn: 6,115 legislative seats are on the ballot in regular elections in 46 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nonpartisan research group in Denver.  Education Week

Nov. 2

Voters to weigh in on marijuana legalization, health-care law, state budgets
"They're not put on the ballot by a big band of dedicated volunteers. There's big money behind it," said Jennie Drage Bowser, senior fellow and elections analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Washington Post

States' stimulus boost starts to shrink in June
What happens late next year "is the million-dollar question," says Arturo Perez, a budget analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. USA Today

Election stakes high for education policy, spending
6,115 legislative seats are on the ballot in regular elections in 46 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nonpartisan research group in Denver. Education Week

Mass. Hospital Association To Ban Hiring Smokers
A ban on hiring or firing smokers would be illegal in 29 states and the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. wbur (NPR) Boston

Day jobs in the way of vote to limit raises
Half of the 50 states currently ban dual-office holding of any kind, and most of the rest restrict the type of elected offices that can be held by lawmakers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. North Jersey.com

Cuomo Leads Paladino in New York Governor Election
The governor is required by the New York Constitution to submit a balanced budget to the State Assembly, but the assembly does not have a statutory obligation to pass a balanced budget or to address the state’s deficit, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Cornell Sun

Your Last-Minute Guide to Making Sense of the Election
The National Conference of State Legislatures has a very helpful ballot initiatives database you can drill down through. You not only get an explanatory wording of what each ballot measure is, but a history of similar items that have gone up or down in voting before. Life Hacker.com

Reform opponents think states' votes on mandate will strengthen their case
Currently seven states--Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri, Utah, Virginia and the aforementioned Arizona--all have passed bills amending their states' laws [not their constitutions] to make a health insurance mandate illegal, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. FierceHealthcare

Elections Election Day Guide
Hannon spearheaded the establishment of the Senate Medicaid Task Force, led the health committee of the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) and serves on NCSL's Health Policy forum. Massapequa Patch
 

Nov. 1

Nation's governor candidates vague on deficits
"All the low-hanging fruit has been taken, which only leaves more difficult choices for policymakers," said Arturo Perez, fiscal analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP on NPR

State races to redraw lines of power in Washington
The theme for the Democrats is what goes up must come down," said Tim Storey, an elections analyst at the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, noting the party in control of the White House has lost state legislative seats in 25 of 27 midterm elections since 1900. Reuters

Michigan, make voting more convenient
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 32 states and the District of Columbia allow some form of early voting. Opinion in Lansing State Journal

Oregon may be swept in national winds of change
Some insights were offered last week by two senior fellows for the National Conference of State Legislatures, the nonpartisan association for the 50 states. The comments by Tim Storey and Jennie Drage Bowser omitted U.S. Senate and House races, which have been widely commented on elsewhere. Statesman Journal

Recall amendment would apply only to governor
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 18 states permit the recall of state officials. Journal Star

Legislative races will shape N.C. political terrain
North Carolina is the rare state where the governor cannot veto redistricting plans, said Tim Storey, a redistricting expert at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Charlotte Observer

Opinion: Food-for-votes issue not limited to election years
Private sponsorships in large amounts also help underwrite national meetings of the National Governors Association, the Council of State Governments and the National Conference of State Legislatures that are attended by South Dakota officials and legislators. Capitol Notebook

Politics 2010: Ballot questions run gamut from A to Z
California, with nine, has the most ballot issues, followed by Colorado and Washington each with six, the National Conference of State Legislatures' Web site indicated. UPI

DeSaulnier Slams "Dysfunctional" State Budget Process
Of the 24 states that permit initiatives, California is the only one where initiatives can take effect with no waiting period or power of review by the state legislature, he said, citing research by the National Conference of State Legislatures. El Cerrito

Kan. race turns on views of scattered vote issues
The National Conference of State Legislatures says eight states have photo ID laws. NECN

A look at the decisions people around the US will be making on Election Day
Sources: The Associated Press, Senate press gallery, House press gallery, National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures. The Canadian Press

Gorell expects deployment to Afghanistan
The National Conference of State Legislatures reported last year that 31 had received foreign deployments since 2003. TMCnet

Public suffers in poor budget
About six states projecting flat revenue growth in the next year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Myrtle Beach Sun News

Lou Cannon: Political Stakes High as Republicans Ride an Uncertain Wave
“Change is coming for sure,” said Tim Storey, a political analyst for the National Conference of State Legislators, or NCSL. Noozhawk
 

 

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