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NCSL in the News November 2012

NCSL in the News Archives

NCSL in the News: November 2012

Nov. 30

Red state, blue city: How the urban-rural divide is splitting America
On Election Day, voters in 37 states weighed in on 174 ballot measures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, on matters ranging from gambling to marijuana to the death penalty. It was the second-highest number ever, and this cycle also saw a definitive jump in votes on whether to overturn recently passed legislation, including Obamacare and gay marriage. The Atlantic

What to expect, what to do after a card data breach
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports 46 states have laws requiring data breach notification, but if you're in Alabama, Kentucky, New Mexico or South Dakota, there are no such guarantees. CreditCards.com

Shopping online for holiday gifts? Michigan's schools need you to pay sales tax
Michigan wouldn’t be breaking new ground. The National Conference of State Legislatures is planning an event in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday for support of national bills helping states collect the tax money. The group estimates states will lose $23 billion in revenue this year. MLive.com

Welch presses for online sales taxes
Congressman Peter Welch and four congressional colleagues are calling for passage of a law allowing states to levy sales taxes for online and catalog purchases. The five are expected to call for passage of the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act supported by the National Conference of State Legislatures. The NCSL says states are expected to lose a total of $23 billion in taxes on Internet and catalog sales as opposed to taxes collected by "brick-and-mortar" businesses located in the states. Vermont Public Radio

Report: Online sales cost AZ $708M in sales taxes
The National Conference of State Legislatures said Arizona will watch an estimated $708.6 million in sales taxes go uncollected this year in online and catalog purchases, the ninth-highest amount in the nation. Inside Tucson Business

Nov. 29

The rise of the statehouse supermajority
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that half the nation will have legislatures in which one party controls enough votes to override a governor’s veto, the highest level in at least a decade. Politico

D.C. joins states on synthetic drug ban
While voters in Colorado and Washington state decided this month to legalize small amounts of naturally growing marijuana, an increasing number of lawmakers have decided in recent years to ban drugs that incorporate a hodgepodge of man-made ingredients, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Washington Times

Lawsuit challenges Arizona driver's license ban for DACA immigrants
Four states, including Arizona, have laws that specifically prohibit undocumented immigrants from paying in-state tuition, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Alabama and South Carolina bar the undocumented from attending public colleges, regardless of how much tuition they pay. The Huffington Post

Dreamers in MA get their wish
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, California and Texas were the first states to pass similar legislation in 2001 followed by New York and Utah in 2002. Before Governor Patrick’s announcement, 12 states allowed for this. The Vanguard

McNeely: A changing electorate, new tools
The National Conference of State Legislatures found that 37 of the 50 states in 2013 will be under the unified control of one party — be it Democrat or Republican. That’s the largest number in 60 years, the conference reported. The News-Journal
 

Nov. 28

Report: Online sales cost Arizona $708 million in lost taxes
The National Conference of State Legislatures said Arizona will watch an estimated $708 million in sales taxes go uncollected this year on online and catalog purchases, the ninth-highest amount in the nation. The Tucson Sentinel

Berlin Rep elected Democratic House minority leader
Aresimowicz has been recognized in the past by a number of groups including the American Legion, the Connecticut State Firefighters Association and the Connecticut Working Families Party. He also received a perfect score from the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters for his support and advocacy of environmental initiatives and servers on the National Conference of State Legislatures Labor and Economic Development Committee, according to the statement. The New Britain Herald

Ala revamping school fitness measures
According to the Centers for Disease Control, childhood obesity has tripled in the last three decades. About a third of children and adolescents in the U.S. are obese. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that the childhood obesity rate in Alabama is 36.1. Inactivity appears to shoulder the bulk of the blame for the state's childhood obesity problems. The state ranks in the bottom 10 percent when activity profiles of Alabama youth are compared to those of other states, according to the Alabama Department of education. AP in CBS Greenville

Nov. 27

In our view: Level the playing field
But more than a tax issue, this is a business issue. As if Washington businesses don't have enough financial difficulties, they must continually deal with an unfair tax system that allows online competitors to avoid paying reasonable state sales taxes. NCSL data cited in The Columbian

State could see savings with expanded Medicaid
Joy Johnson Wilson, health policy director for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said Tuesday that states should take a closer look at the potential impact of the expansion that was authorized by the federal health care overhaul law. The Omaha World-Herald

Cuccinelli seems to agree voter fraud helped Obama
Obama did not win any of the four states — Kansas, Indiana, Tennessee and Georgia — that have what the National Conference of State Legislatures classifies as “strict” laws requiring voters to present photo ID. The Washington Post

Neb. lawmakers discuss expanding Medicaid
“The multiplier effect is always worth taking a look at,” said Joy Wilson, with the National Conference of State Legislatures. NBC News

Reforms could boost voter participation
Two other states that topped Connecticut in overall turnout -- Washington and Oregon -- conduct all elections by mail, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Connecticut ranked 7th in turnout among all states in 2012. The Hartford Courant

Politicians point fingers over Web poker delay
The National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures have raised objections to the draft, seeing it as limiting states' opportunities to raise revenue from online lotteries and other forms of gambling. The Las Vegas Review-Journal

High-security driver’s license runs into opposition in states
Today, 17 states have enacted laws opposing compliance with Real ID, eight more approved resolutions opposing it, and two had one house of its legislature oppose the federal mandate, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most states aren’t expected to comply by the deadline. Insurance Journal

Illinois eavesdropping law review declined by Supreme Court
Illinois is one of just 10 states, plus the District of Columbia, where all parties must give their consent to a recording, according to data provided by The National Conference of State Legislatures. The Alaska Dispatch

Battle over budget caps looming in Texas Legislature
Mandy Rafool of the National Conference of State Legislatures said only two states have similar caps: Colorado and Ohio. And whether or not you think the caps have succeeded there depends on your point of view. “If your goal is to shrink government, then you can make the case that they have worked,” Rafool said. “If you think that government services need to maintain a certain level, then when the economy shrinks, the base shrinks.” Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

RI not alone in scaling back subsidies for movies
In the last five years, $3.5 billion in tax credits, rebates and other financial assistance have gone to makers of films, television shows and commercials, according to a calculation by the foundation. In the next fiscal year, states will face $72 billion in budget deficits, the National Conference of State Legislatures estimates. WPRI

Nov. 19

Massachusetts to grant in-state tuition to immigrants who qualify for DACA
Undocumented immigrants who qualify for deferred deportation will get tuition breaks at public colleges and universities in Massachusetts. Four states, including Arizona, have laws that specifically prohibit undocumented immigrants from paying in-state tuition, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Huffington Post

(Opinion) Legislature must find fix for problems at the polls
Eighteen states do not even have early voting. Only 27 states and the District of Columbia have early voting and absentee voting for any reason, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Florida is one of those states. The Daytona Beach News-Journal

New Hampshire House Democrats nominate Terie Norelli as speaker
New Hampshire’s newly elected Democratic representatives nominated former House speaker and current House minority leader Terie Norelli of Portsmouth on Saturday as their speaker for the next two years. Norelli also serves as the president of the National Conference of State Legislatures. She is entering her ninth two-year term in the House. AP in The Brattleboro Reformer

Murt: Ban credit checks for job applicants
The states of California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon and Washington have enacted legislation similar to Murt’s. Nineteen other states and the District of Columbia have introduced legislation this year dealing with credit checks in employment, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. NBC News

Passive sharing is passe: Why protecting privacy in the social sphere preserves value in the channel
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures in an October 2012 report, 14 additional states have introduced new bills around online privacy protection this year alone. Venture Beat

Proposed campaign reforms wouldn't choke off political cash
Florida's $500 cap is one of the nation's stingiest, enforced in a mega-state with some of the most expensive media markets. Only Maine and Colorado have stricter limits for legislative candidates, while a dozen states have no limits at all, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Orlando Sentinel

Unions make strong showing at the polls
“There was strong pushback across the country [Tuesday] night against efforts to rein in public employees unions,” says Jennie Drage Bowser, an expert on ballot measures at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Stateline

For regulators, sand-mine riches are tough to refuse
Minnesota and Wisconsin aren't alone in worrying, according to Peggy Kearns, director of the National Conference of State Legislatures' Center for Ethics in Government. Kearns said the ethical standard is still evolving. But the trend is toward establishing a "line of demarcation," perhaps six months or a year, before public employees can take a job with a company or industry they regulated. "It feels like a quid pro quo if you are still in office and you are negotiating employment," Kearns said. The Seattle Times

Nov. 16

Two Alabama 14-year-olds disappear on way to school
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, one in seven children between ages 10 and 18 runs away at some point. Seventy-five percent of the runaways are female. Yahoo! News

More fun with maps — Divided legislatures are now rare
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Iowa is only one of four states with a legislature divided between Democrats and Republicans in the aftermath of the 2012 election. That was surprising to me. The Gazette

(Opinion) Waiting four hours to vote? Unacceptable when other options could exist
Michigan would hardly be blazing new territory here. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that 32 states allow voters to cast a ballot in person during a designated period before Election Day. MLive.com

D.C. mandate to report child sex abuse moves ahead
A closely watched case, the impact of the Penn State scandal on mandatory reporting has been loud and immediate. More than 100 bills on the reporting of child sex abuse or neglect were introduced in 30 states and the District during legislative sessions this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and Mr. Mendelson said the District will join 18 states with a universal reporting law. The Washington Times

Nov. 15

Feds to control Wyoming health care
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, an exchange, run by the federal or state government, is responsible for certifying health plans, assigning a price and quality level to the plans, presenting the plans in a standardized format to the public and overseeing other administrative and regulatory roles. The Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Quijano Appointed Chairperson of New Initiative from National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislatures
"The National Conference of State Legislatures' Joint Caucus Meeting held in New Orleans was an immense step forward for strong partnerships among the four national caucuses of color," stated Quijano (D-Union). "Legislators working together, sharing personal experiences and establishing guidelines to tackle racism will fundamentally change racial inequity and its role in everyday life." PolitickerNJ

Assemblywoman Quijano appointed chairperson of new initiative
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) recently held a meeting appointing Assemblywoman Annette Quijano as chair to the organizations’ Hispanic delegations on racial equity. NJTODAY.net

(Opinion) The cure for gridlock
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “At least one member must be a resident of each judicial district.” And none can be a public employee or official. The Rome News-Tribune

Nov. 14

Redder and Bluer
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, "the preliminary numbers for the Granite State House are 217-177 (six undecided). Going into the election Republicans had a 288-102 margin, so the Democrats appear to have picked up at least 115 seats." The Wall Street Journal

Long voting lines: Expand voting days or let anyone get an absentee ballot?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 32 states allow voters to cast a ballot in person during a designated period before Election Day. All 50 states mail absentee ballots to certain voters; 21 (including Michigan) require an excuse while 27 do not. MLive.com

Weatherford: Disband CCEs, raise contribution limits
Most of the larger states allow much larger contributions than Florida. Texas has no limit, according to research last year by the National Conference of State Legislatures. California allows candidates for governor to collect up to $52,000 per election cycle from each contributor, while legislative candidates are limited to between $7,800 and $13,000. The Jacksonville Daily Record

Public pension funds face vast shortfall
Another resource to help you stay up-to-date on changes in state public plans can be found at the National Conference of State Legislatures’ website. The Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch

What are insurance exchanges in the Obamacare Affordable Care Act?
The National Conference of State Legislatures reported in October 2012 that so 15 States and the District of Columbia want to run their own insurance exchanges. Seven States request that the federal government run the exchange in their State and three States want a partnership. This leaves 25 States still trying to decide on their options. Examiner

Politico Morning Tech Crunch
The new report was written by Scott Mackey, a former chief economist at the National Conference of State Legislatures who now consults to wireless firms. Politico

Nov. 13

Few voter ID woes reported; critics unconvinced
Currently, 33 U.S. states have voter ID laws, and 17 of those mandate photo IDs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Chattanooga Times Free Press

Arkansas House members consider the possibility of a tie
The National Conference of State Legislatures says that tied chambers are becoming more frequent, with every even-year election since 1984 producing at least one deadlocked legislative chamber. AP in NPR/KUAR

Audit: Cost of state's health insurance program is 'exorbitant'
No less disturbing is the degree to which, according to a 2009 study of the National Conference of State Legislatures, monthly program costs exceed those of all other state employee insurance plans nationwide. Lincoln Journal Star

Nov. 12

Labor, charter forces notch state-level election wins
The National Conference of State Legislatures reported that Democrats picked up control of four statehouses, and that the number of legislatures with divided control dropped from eight to four. Education Week

GOP-led states could halt Obama's Medicaid push
State lawmakers will also play a key role in deciding whether to expand Medicaid when they convene this winter and next spring. “When state legislatures are back in session, we expect a flurry of attention to what the states will do,” said Richard Cauchi, health program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Fiscal Times

After election, health care lobbyists tweak strategy
The firm sent lobbyists this year to meetings held by the National Conference of State Legislatures, and will be sending several lobbyists to the annual meeting of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners this month. The Washington Post

Rising number of states seeing one-party rule
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks party representation in the country’s 50 state governments, Democrats now control all three bases of power — the governorship and both houses of the state legislature — in 14 states and Republicans in 23, with only 12 states sharing power. Nebraska's unicameral legislature is considered nonpartisan. The Washington Times

North Dakota farmers win constitutional protection from voters
"There's certainly a lot of interest in the states in protecting agriculture and agricultural practices," said Scott Hendrick, a program director with the National Conference of State Legislatures. "This takes a broader tack. I think some states will look at this." The Tulsa World

Their freedom for a check
It's time for Minnesota to lead the nation in rehabilitative services for youth following a brain injury. It's crucial these kids are able to function at home, in the community and in school. According to the the National Conference of State Legislatures, 34 states have passed laws to address TBI, and another 15 have introduced legislation. The Pioneer Press

(Opinion) Our state government victory
The National Conference of State Legislatures has maps which show the change clearly. This map shows Republican and Democrat control of state governments after the 2010 election. Compare that map with this map, which shows Republican and Democrat control of state government after the 2012 election. The American Thinker

Nov. 9

Surge of exchange plans expected from states
Sixteen states have enacted exchanges through either statute or executive orders, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and are expected to submit plans for CMS review. ModernHealthcare.org

It’s time for decisions on health care
“We don’t really have much information on how the federal exchanges are going to work, or how the cooperative agreements will work,” said Joy Wilson, health policy director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Wilson held a teleconference Thursday morning with lawmakers on the Legislative Medicaid Advisory Committee. The Times Daily

DFL majorities pick their leaders
But Pappas was elected Senate president, and Bakk indicated she will carry significant administrative responsibilities for planning the Midwest Region of the Council of State Governments meeting that’s planned for Minnesota in 2013 and the National Conference of State Legislatures convention that will be in Minnesota in 2014. Politics in Minnesota

College costs: Gov. Scott says tie tuition to results
The National Conference of State Legislatures says on its website that U.S. universities historically have run on funds determined by how many students are enrolled at the start of a semester. "That model provides incentives for colleges to enroll students — but not necessarily to help them graduate," the site says. The Ledger

Ballot questions aren’t going away, experts say
Nationwide, there were 12 questions brought to state ballots by petitions, a 14-year high, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In other states, voters took on questions of teacher labor laws, same-sex marriage, and medical marijuana. Maryland Community News

Alabama preps for health care changes
“There’s a lot of pressure for states to move forward with expansion,” said Joy Wilson, health policy director and senior affairs council for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Tuscaloosa News

Panel looks at pros, cons of expanding Medicaid in light of Obama's re-election
But Joy Wilson, director of health care policy for the National Conference of State Legislatures, told the committee by phone that that would be a significantly larger expense. “We don’t really have much information on how the federal exchanges are going to work, and how that cooperative agreement will work,” she said. The Montgomery Advertiser

A nation of partisans
More signs of deep political polarization, this time from the National Conference of State Legislatures, which reports a notable drop in the number of states with a governor of one party and at least one chamber of the legislature of the opposite party. Politico

Issues at polls renew interest in early voting
Thirty-two states and Washington, D.C., have early voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. NorthJersey.com

Yonts elected as vice chair to NCSL committee
Following state Rep. Brent Yonts’ re-election to the Kentucky General Assembly, Yonts was elected vice chair of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ standing committee on labor and economic development issues. According to a news release, this will be Yonts’ third term as vice chair. Kentucky New Era

N.J. Democrats call for extended voting in wake of Sandy chaos
Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia offer some sort of early voting, which allows residents to visit elections offices and cast a ballot without explaining why they cannot vote on Election Day, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Star-Ledger

New Hampshire’s Democratic wave, explained
Politics is “very connected” to its people in New Hampshire, explained Tim Storey, an elections analyst at the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. “Because the state is so small, people really do know what is going on in the legislature,” he said. The Washington Post

Nov. 8

Ballot measures: What message did America send on Election Day?
First, only 76 percent of the of the 115 measures put on the ballot by state legislatures passed, which is down slightly from the 85-plus percent average from 2000 to 2010, according to Jennie Bowser of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Forty-one percent of 42 voter initiatives passed. “It’s fair to say that voters took a more negative view of statewide ballot measures this year than they usually do,” she says via e-mail. The Christian Science Monitor

Democrats gain ground in state legislatures
The Democratic Party took control of eight state legislative chambers and added about 200 legislators nationwide, estimates the National Conference of State Legislatures. Republicans had important successes, too, winning four chambers and defending others that were vulnerable. USA TODAY

Voters OK $30.8 billion of municipal bonds, California Prop 30 passes
Voters rejected most proposed tax cuts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, with Florida voters shooting down a state revenue cap. "Most of those that were approved were symbolic," the NCSL said in a statement, noting, for example, a constitutional amendment in New Hampshire that would have prohibited income tax - which it currently does not have anyway. The Chicago Tribune

The election's effect on Massachusetts business sectors
Until now, online merchants have been protected by a 1992 Supreme Court ruling that limited online retailers to collect taxes only in states where they have a store or other outpost. But Internet shopping has since exploded, and the National Conference of State Legislatures estimates states missed out on $8.6 billion in uncollected taxes in 2010. The Boston Globe

After election, Congress as divided as ever
Jennie Drage Bowser joins us now. She's a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures where her work focuses on ballot initiatives and joins us from Colorado Public Radio in Centennial, Colorado. Nice to have you back with us..."There's a 180-degree turn in voter behavior this year. This is a really big deal for advocates of same-sex marriage," said Bowser. NPR

State political shifts likely to affect health law
Democrats took control of state legislatures in Maine, Minnesota, Colorado, New York and Oregon, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nonpartisan trade group of state lawmakers.. The GOP took control of legislatures in Arkansas, Wisconsin and Alaska. Kaiser Health News

Washington, Colorado allow recreational use of marijuana
Support for marijuana’s recreational use built on measures that allow it for medical purposes in one-third of U.S. states. Previous attempts to legalize pot through ballot measures failed in California, Alaska, Oregon, Colorado and Nevada since 1972, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg Businessweek

What do supermajorities in California Statehouse mean for K-12?
As the National Conference of State Legislatures points out, usually when California voters are confronted by two measures to increase taxes on their ballots, they end up rejecting both. But that didn't happen this year, and only Proposition 38 was defeated. Education Week

Election decides a raft of state health issues
"Even before the court decision, they were referring to changes that could not be made by states," Richard Cauchi, health program director at the National Conference of State Legislatures, told MedPage Today. MedPage Today

Minnesota voters are first to reject ID measure
Minnesota became the first state to reject a measure to require a valid identification, such as drivers license, to vote. Minnesota was only the third state to consider voter ID through a popular vote and the first to reject it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters in Yahoo! News

Minnesota voters shoot down voter ID amendment
The voter ID concept was pushed by legislative Republicans. Debate on the issue is occurring in many states, with the National Conference of State Legislatures reporting a dozen states have voter photo ID requirements. DL-Online

Minnesota defeats marriage amendment
There are a total of 38 states where laws and/or constitutions limit marriage to relationships between a man and a woman. But it is also true that the strength of the "yes" vote on these constitutional amendments has been declining, from a multistate average of 73.1 percent in 2005 to 56.8 percent in 2008, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Pioneer Press

Obama win may boost health law, but states still control its destiny
“When state legislatures are back in session, we expect a flurry of attention to what the states will do,” said Richard Cauchi, health program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Examiner

(Opinion) Voting should not be this hard
Thirty-two states allow early voting, giving voters better ability to work this civic duty into their schedule, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. South Dakota this year allowed voting as early as Sept. 21. In Vermont, people could vote as early as Sept. 24. The Albany Times Union

(Opinion) Casting your ballot is a right - it shouldn't be an ordeal
Using data from the National Conference of State Legislatures, the report pointed out that ours is the most populous state without legalized online voter registration, Election Day registration, early voting or no-excuse absentee balloting. The Philadelphia Daily News

States up the pressure on retirement plans for private workers
Since 2006, more than a dozen states have considered studying the issue or have introduced bills to create some type of retirement savings plan, according to an October update on the issue by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Workforce Management

DFL wins control of state gov't
After Tuesday’s election, the majority of states have Republican-controlled legislatures and only four states have split control, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Minnesota Daily

Colorado, Washington blow smoke in feds' face by OK'ing pot for fun
While support for the amendments in Colorado and Washington state was bolstered by supporters who noted that the drug’s use for medical purposes was allowed in 17 states, the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures said attempts since 1972 to legalize marijuana through the ballot box have failed in California, Alaska, Oregon, Colorado and Nevada. The Washington Times

Marijuana legalized in Washington and Colorado after 2012 elections
The National Conference of State Legislatures say states like California, Alaska, Oregon, Colorado and Nevada since 1972 have tried to legalize the plant all ending in failure. Classicalite

Eminent domain amendment prevails by wide margin
As of June 2012, 44 states had enacted some type of reform legislation in response to the Kelo decision, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of those states, 22 passed laws that severely inhibited the takings allowed by the Kelo decision, while the rest enacted laws that place some limits on the power of municipalities to invoke eminent domain for economic development. Virginia Connection Newspapers

Nov. 7

Democrats gain state legislative wins on Obama's coattails
Democrats were on track to capture more state legislative seats than Republicans in Tuesday's election, as President Barack Obama's re-election spilled into local races, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported on Wednesday. "Democrats will almost certainly net more seats than the GOP, continuing a strong 'coattails' trend," the bipartisan organization said in a statement. "Including this year, the party winning the White House has gained seats in legislatures in 21 of the past 29 presidential-cycle elections." Reuters in The Chicago Tribune

Footnoting the election!
There are 6,000 state legislative seats up for election this year. Here’s the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures’ take on what could happen tonight. They’ve identified 20 state chambers that could flip party control tonight, which would be higher than an average year. The Washington Post Wonkblog

Will GOP cement its state legislature lead in the 2012 elections?
But unlike 2010, when all 22 chambers that flipped control turned Republican, both Democrats and Republicans could make gains on Nov. 6, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a research organization in Washington. "Right now, some races are so close, it does not appear to be a big wave for either party,” says Tim Storey, an elections analyst with the NCSL. The Christian Science Monitor in The Alaska Dispatch

Democrats gain state legislative wins on Obama's coattails
Democrats were on track to capture more state legislative seats than Republicans in Tuesday's election, as President Barack Obama's re-election spilled into local races, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported on Wednesday. Reuters in the Sun Sentinel

Washington, Colorado allow recreational marijuana use
Previous attempts to legalize pot through ballot measures failed in California, Alaska, Oregon, Colorado and Nevada since 1972, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. NewsMax

Washington is first state to allow pot’s recreational use
Previous attempts to legalize pot through ballot measures failed in California, Alaska, Oregon, Colorado and Nevada since 1972, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg Business Week

Election 2012 results Liveblog: In Senate, Democrats ward off challenges
But unlike 2010, when all 22 chambers that flipped control turned Republican, both Democrats and Republicans could make gains on Nov. 6, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a research organization in Washington. Christian Science Monitor

Cravaack upset; both amendments fail
Debate on the issue is occurring in many states, with the National Conference of State Legislatures reporting a dozen states have voter photo ID requirements. Park Rapids Enterprise

What else Americans are voting for today
That question has never been posed to a state’s voters before, says Jennie Drage Bowser, who tracks ballot initiatives for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg Business News

Minnesota defeats marriage amendment
But it is also true that the strength of the "yes" vote on these constitutional amendments has been declining, from a multistate average of 73.1 percent in 2005 to 56.8 percent in 2008, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Pioneer Press

State legislatures: why Republican wave of 2010 is here to stay
But unlike 2010, when all 22 chambers that flipped control turned Republican, both Democrats and Republicans could make gains on Nov. 6, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a research organization in Washington.  "Right now, some races are so close, it does not appear to be a big wave for either party,” says Tim Storey, an elections analyst with the NCSL.  Christian Science Monitor

John Martin, one of nation’s longest-serving state legislators, defeated
In addition to his tenure in the Maine Legislature, he has served in numerous positions with the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Foundation for State Legislatures, the Democratic State Legislative Leaders Association and the National Democratic Committee.  Maine Sun Journal

Obama win boosts health law, but states still control its destiny
“When state legislatures are back in session, we expect a flurry of attention to what the states will do,” said Richard Cauchi, health program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Atlanta Journal Constitution

Voters have their say on issues from gay marriage to taxes
This was the highest instance of so-called citizens’ vetoes in any election dating back to 1920 and double the number in 2008 and 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  KOSU

Voters decide against voter ID
The voter ID concept was pushed by legislative Republicans. Debate on the issue is occurring in many states, with the National Conference of State Legislatures reporting a dozen states have voter photo ID requirements.  West Central Tribune

Nov. 6

Marijuana, marriage, gambling and taxes are top ballot initiatives to watch
"Well, you know, I think it's symptomatic of the political polarization that we have in America right now," said Jennie Bowser, senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures. "These tend to be issues that have very strong partisan appeal. So, they're things like same-sex marriage or dealing with public employee labor unions, things like that. And so the legislature takes action that is highly partisan and the opponents sort of push back at the legislature's action through that popular referendum." PBS Newshour

State ballot questions to shape landscape on social issues, marijuana policy and more
A total of 38 states on Tuesday will consider 174 ballot measures, including 12 referendums, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Fox News

Long lines expected at local polls despite early voting
Thirty-two states and the District offer early in-person voting during a designated period, and 27 states and the nation’s capital allow voters to send in absentee ballots without providing an excuse, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Washington Times

Legal marijuana, same-sex marriage on ballots before US voters
“There are always a lot of social issues on the ballot,” said Jennie Bowser, a senior fellow at the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. “This year, there’s a little bit of a twist with change in the same-sexmarriage issue and the prevalence of the marijuana issue without requiring the medical piece.” Bloomberg/Bangor Daily News

Election could make history, as more states turn to voter referendum measures
This is apparently the year of the referendum across the nation - the National Conference of State Legislatures reports that there are more popular referenda on the ballot this year than any year since 1920. The Spokesman-Review

After Sandy, 'early voters' take election by storm
Early voting is allowed in 32 states and the District of Columbia. Those votes are not counted until after polls close on Election Day, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. MyCentralJersey.com

Election Day Colorado: Voter ID rules for Colorado voters
HeadCount is a New York-based voter registration and election integrity organization that seeks to expand democratic participation through music and the music industry. It has produced a good online map listing voter ID requirements around the country. A similar map and information is available at the National Conference of State Legislatures website. The Huffington Post

(Opinion) Virginia should allow anyone to vote absentee
Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia allow people to cast a mail-in absentee ballot without offering a reason why they can't vote on Election Day, according to a survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Seven states and the District of Columbia permit permanent absentee voting, in which voters receive an absentee ballot automatically for all future elections. Washington state and Oregon do not offer traditional in-person polling places, and voting is entirely by mail. The Richmond Times-Dispatch

The talk (that must be had)
There are no federal sexual education policies that specifically outline consent as a requirement in classes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Daily Californian

Nov. 5

Control of legislatures up for grabs in 44 states
A total of 6,030 of the nation's 7,383 legislative seats are at stake Tuesday, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The only states without legislative elections are Alabama, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey and Virginia. USA TODAY

State roundup: Examining health issues on state ballots
Sprinkled throughout ballots across the country are state initiatives that run the gamut from education to animal rights to marriage. And health care is well-represented, too. The National Conference of State Legislatures labels health a "key issue" in this cycle's roundup of state ballot questions. Kaiser Health News

Republicans seek to hold gains of 2010 in state legislatures
A total 6,030 of the nation's 7,383 legislative seats are at stake Tuesday, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The only states without legislative elections are Alabama, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey and Virginia. USA TODAY/The Tulsa World

(Opinion) Vote for all three amendments
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 13 states already have this guarantee written into their constitutions. And Idaho, Kentucky and Nebraska hope to follow suit this year. The Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Should guns be allowed on Montana college campuses?
Across the country, elected officials have grappled with the debate of allowing or not allowing guns on campus. In 2011, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 18 states introduced legislation to allow concealed weapons on campus in some form. The Missoulian

Most of Congress coming back despite low approval
Tim Storey, an elections analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, cites post-Census redistricting in which both Republicans and Democrats shore up incumbents and create a significant number of safe, non-competitive House districts. But Storey points out that the district boundaries reflect a geographical and cultural reality: The United States is a nation of clusters. "It takes a real quick look at voting patterns geographically to realize that we are very sort of clustered in heavily partisan ways," Storey said. "And so when you start drawing maps, many of these districts, you can't unless you extraordinarily contort the lines, you're always going to have some number of districts, a large number, that are heavily Republican and heavily Democratic. So that is the nature of a geographic dispersion along party lines." AP/Minnesota Public Radio

Legal marijuana, same-sex marriage on U.S. voter ballots
“There are always a lot of social issues on the ballot,” said Jennie Bowser, a senior fellow at the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. “This year, there’s a little bit of a twist with change in the same-sex marriage issue and the prevalence of the marijuana issue without requiring the medical piece.” Bloomberg Businessweek

Gazette opinion: Montana's in mainstream of voter access
All Western states offer early voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. However, Texas requires voters to provide an approved reason for voting an absentee ballot. Oregon and Washington have all-mail ballots. The Billings Gazette

(Opinion) The pros and cons of early voting
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 32 states and the District of Columbia now allow in-person early voting, beginning, on average, 22 days before the election. In addition, and almost entirely overlapping, 27 states plus the District have no-excuse absentee voting. The Washington Post/The Seattle Times

(Opinion) A resounding vote for early voting
My Post colleague Ruth Marcus notes that the National Conference of State Legislatures lists 32 states plus D.C. that allow in-person early voting, which on average begins 22 days before the election. Most of those same states, 27 in all plus D.C., allow no-excuse absentee voting. Washington state and Oregon run their elections entirely by mail. We’re on an upward trajectory here. The Washington Post

(Opinion) Protect your vote by voting yes
Voter ID has been a hot topic in state legislatures for the past decade. A total of 33 states have passed voter ID laws. Thirty states presently have laws in place that will require all voters to show an ID at the polls this November. Minnesota currently has no voter ID requirement although voter ID legislation was passed by the legislature in 2011 but was vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton. (Source National Conference of State Legislatures www.ncsl.org). The Albert Lea Tribune

Tax hike measures have hard time at polls
State sales tax increases have been on the ballot 20 times in the past 34 years, and were defeated 16 times. Only in Arizona, Arkansas, and Missouri — which passed two sales taxes — have such measures been successful. The analysis combines data from the Initiative and Referendum Institute and a database from the National Conference of State Legislatures. California News Service/The Chico Enterprise-Record

Election Day is the day to vote
Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia allow early voting in person at designated polling stations, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Lancaster Sunday News

Mo. voters to decide on measures for tobacco taxes, St. Louis police, courts, health insurance
Missouri is the only state with a ballot measure specifically targeting insurance exchanges, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Voters in four other states are deciding on broader initiatives dealing with the health care law. AP/The Daily Journal

Nov. 2

Tax and revenue measures on 12 state ballots
Overall, there are 32 tax and revenue ballot measures across the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of those, 18 represent significant tax measures. Some propose tax increases while others limit taxes or address property assessments. USA TODAY/Greenville Online

Maryland is the only state putting a major illegal immigration issue before voters this election
Though 11 other states already allow illegal immigrants to obtain in-state tuition at state universities, no other state has asked voters to weigh in, says Ann Morse, program director of the Immigrant Policy Project at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). The Christian Science Monitor/Business Insider

What Marylanders are asked to vote on explained
That is just one for three referenda, or voter vetoes, on the Maryland ballot this year. A popular referendum is an opportunity for voters to veto something recently passed by the legislature, according to Jennie Bowser, an elections expert at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “In a typical election year, we might see three or four [national] popular referendums, and this year we have 12,” Bowser, told the Washington Times. “It’s all very partisan and we’re seeing it on both sides of the spectrum. It’s that political polarization playing out on the ballot.” The Examiner

(Opinion) Kentucky shouldn't limit voting to one day
Voters in 32 states, and in Washington, D.C., have the option of casting ballots early in the 2012 general election. Thousands of voters across the country have already made their choices. Kentucky voters don’t have that option. According to a report on voting laws outlined by the National Conference of State Legislatures, Kentucky has some of the most restrictive rules about when and where voters may cast ballots. For most of us, it’s Election Day or nothing. The Kentucky New Era

There is more food for voters to chew on than just Proposition 37
Overall, the states that use the ballot box to decide issues in addition to candidates are deciding on about the same number of mesures that they did in 2010, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). This year, a state-by-state analysis by NCSL shows 12 popular referenda, 42 citizen initiatives, and 115 bills referred to the people by a state legislative body. Food Safety News

Democrats seeking comebacks could reduce GOP majority in Missouri House
Republicans hope that Mitt Romney’s likely romp in Missouri will give a boost to Republicans in down-ballot races. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a president usually has coattails. In 20 of 28 elections since 1900, the party winning the White House also netted seats in state legislatures across the country. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Pennsylvania voter ID law can be publicized even though it's not in effect, judge rules
Thirty U.S. states have some form of voter ID laws that will be in effect for the general election on Tuesday, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Huffington Post

Alabama voters take on Affordable Care Act
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 20 states have already passed laws or constitutional amendments designed to undercut the federal law. Joining Alabama with measures on the ballot Tuesday are Florida, Missouri, Montana, and Wyoming. AP/The San Francisco Chronicle

Nov. 1

176 initiatives on ballots on Election Day
“In a typical election year, we might see three or four popular referendums, and this year we have 12,” said Jennie Bowser, senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. “It’s all very partisan and we’re seeing it on both sides of the spectrum. It’s that political polarization playing out on the ballot.” The Washington Times

The GOP has its eyes on another Election Day prize: Arkansas
Already, 1,400 legislators won't be coming back for another term owing to retirements and primary losses, while an additional 300 incumbents will lose their seats in the 6,000 legislative elections being held Tuesday, according to Tim Storey, an elections expert with the National Conference of State Legislatures. "This year may be as unpredictable a year as we have seen in over a decade," Storey says. Minnesota Public Radio

Grace period registration and voting ends Saturday
Twelve states offer online registration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Indiana is the closest state to Illinois that offers online registration. Northwestern University

Voters Guide: Proposition E
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, after the federal law went into effect, 10 states and Washington, D.C., passed legislation creating exchanges, and four other states — Indiana, Kentucky, New York and Rhode Island — established exchanges through executive orders. Legislation is pending in an additional four states. The Columbian Missourian

Questions remain on early voting
“It’s become increasingly popular with citizens,” said Wendy Underhill, a senior policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures who has studied early voting nationally. “When voters use it, they don’t want to give it up. We haven’t seen any states undo early voting.” Southern Maryland Newspapers

No new requirements for voter ID this year in Missouri
Voters in four states — including Missouri’s neighbor to the west, Kansas — have to show photo IDs Tuesday, and a few additional states have already adopted the photo requirement for future elections. The National Conference of State Legislatures created this interactive map to show where each state stands. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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