NCSL in the News | November 2015

11/1/2015

Nov. 30

Higher minimum wage part of the Edwards campaign platform, but how can he pull it off?
The Advocate
Louisiana is one of five states that doesn’t have a minimum wage, meaning it defaults to the federal government’s current $7.25 rate. According to information compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, 29 states have set minimum wage limits higher than the federal rate.
 
Amazon's reprieve from collecting sales taxes from South Carolina customers expires Jan. 1
Augusta Journal/AP
Taxing Amazon’s in-state sales could add tens of millions of dollars to South Carolina’s coffers in 2016, said Max Behlke, the National Conference of State Legislatures’ manager of state and federal relations.
 
Appointees to key positions in Nevada remain little-known to taxpayers
Las Vegas Review-Journal
The National Conference of State Legislatures shows a state-by-state comparison of disclosure requirements, and many states require a range of values of property and sources of income. So do the federal financial disclosure forms.
 
High school sex ed teaching 'yes means yes' rape prevention
Chico Enterprise-Record/AP
California is the first U.S. state to require “yes means yes” instruction in public high schools, starting next year. Lawmakers in Michigan, Minnesota and Oklahoma have introduced similar legislation, and at least 19 states require some kind of training on healthy relationships, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Will 2016 be the year for ethics reform in New Mexico?
Santa Fe New Mexican
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, New Mexico is one of only eight states that does not have an ethics commission.
 
Kentucky governor restores ex-felons' right to vote
Florida Courier
Kentucky is one of four states – along with Iowa, Florida and Virginia – in which people with felony convictions are permanently disenfranchised in their state constitutions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Last year, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe took a similar action to the one taken Tuesday by Beshear.
 
S Carolina shoppers latest to pay taxes on Amazon sales
WSOC Charlotte
In all, South Carolina loses out on an estimated $254 million in taxes from out-of-state sales — mostly online but also through catalogues and phone purchases, according to a 2014 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
State bill would ban soap beads tied to Lake Erie pollution
WKBN.com
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 10 states have banned the particles since last year.
 
Tighten oversight of suspended licenses
Poughkeepsie Journal
Several states have what appear to be much tougher laws than New York for driving with a suspended license. The list of laws, on the website of the National Conference of State Legislatures, shows a variety of penalties. What stands out are the potential for jail sentences and the impounding of vehicles in some states. In Virginia, the offender’s car can be impounded for 30 days (or 90 days in the case of an accompanying DUI).
 
15000 dropped from food stamp program after not finding work
La Crosse Tribune
Thirty states grant waivers state-wide, while another 14 issue partial waivers in areas of high unemployment, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Guest commentary: Congress must move on wildfire prevention ...
Contra Costa Times
That's why in August I authored a resolution at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) to support federal policy changes that free up new investments in wildfire prevention activities, such as the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act. The resolution was adopted unanimously with strong bipartisan support and will allow the NCSL to advocate on behalf of these important policy changes, throwing the weight of all 50 state legislatures behind it.
 
Kobach, public await actions by two courts on proof of citizenship law
LJWORLD
Kansas is one of only three states in the nation that divides the electorate into such categories, according to the National Association of State Legislatures.

Nov. 25

Chris Christie's claim he vetoed more tax hikes than 'any governor in American history
Washington Post
The National Conference of State Legislatures and MultiState Associates Inc., a state and local government relations services firm based in Alexandria, Va., maintains information on party breakdowns of the governor and legislative chambers in each state.

Kentucky Governor Restores Ex-Felons' Right to Vote
Roll Call
Kentucky is one of four states — along with Iowa, Florida and Virginia – in which people with felony convictions are permanently disenfranchised in their state constitutions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures

The Debate Over How To Regulate Uber Is Far From Over
Huffington Post
California created permitting and public safety rules for ride-hailing companies in 2013. Over half the states now have regulations in place, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

Slavery apology request gains support
The News Journal
At least six states have issued apologies for their role in slavery, according to figures from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Who will be Indian Country's Barack Obama? 
The Blue Review 
More than 70 Native Americans are currently elected to state legislatures in 17 states. This map of Native American state officeholders will be updated often; tweet the author with additions and corrections. (Information compiled from the National Conference of State Legislatures, state caucus reports, news sources and candidate profiles.)

Crawford County Clerk Seeks Fifth Term
Times Record
Armer is a graduate of 2011 Leadership Crawford County, a volunteer with various fundraisers for Arkansas Children’s Hospital and Arkansas Special Olympics and was one of three Arkansas County Clerks appointed to the National Conference of State Legislatures board in 2014.

Lawmakers hope for momentum on program to help avoid layoffs
Indianapolis Business Journal
Every state has some form of the Megan’s Law database, which emerged in response to a federal law. But there’s wide variance in other types of public registries of other criminals, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures

Even after release, California convicts contend with digital trail
Sacramento Bee
The program has been implemented in 28 other states and in Washington D.C., according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The federal government in 2012 offered states about $100 million in grant funding to adopt such programs.

Two truths and a lie: Refugees
East Oregonian
The National Conference of State Legislatures recently put together a handy document entitled “The U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program: A primer for policymakers” where much of this information is gleaned from.

Nov. 24

In wake of Paris, how prepared are US states, cities?
Chicago Sun-Times
Although states were quick to spend billions of federal dollars funneled to them after 9/11, they couldn’t sustain salaries needed to run long-term local surveillance programs with that one-time infusion of money. Since then, local spending on antiterrorism has been reduced, said Doug Farquhar, a program director with the National Conference of State Legislatures. “The problem is that they knew this was one-time dollars,” Farquhar said. “You can buy a firetruck or build a building, but you can’t hire employees.”

Minimum Wage: Nine Facts about South Carolina's Minimum Wage
NewsMax
Here are nine facts on South Carolina’s minimum wage. The current minimum wage in the state is $7.25 per hour. This is the federal rate, as the South Carolina is among five states that did not set an official one for 2015, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Lose the partisan politics 
The Gazette: Eastern Iowa
Iowa is only one of 10 states that allows straight-ticket voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A bill to abolish straight-ticket votes cleared a House subcommittee in 2013 but moved no further.
 
Luzerne County Residents Rally To Raise Minumum Wage 
PA home page
According to the National Conference Of State Legislatures, twenty nine states and Washington D.C. currently have state wages above the federal minimum wage of seven dollars and twenty five cents an hour.

After more than a year of delays, Florida finally awards medical pot ...
SaintPetersBlog
Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia now have decriminalized medical marijuana under state law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but selling marijuana is still technically a federal crime.

New Research: Re-Envisioning Reclassification Policies for DLLs
EdCentral
Matthew R. Weyer, PhD, is a policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures. The views presented here are the author’s and do not necessarily represent those of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
State Sen. Hob Bryan (D) says lost revenue from internet sales “a big can of worms” on the federal level
Yall Politics
According to a study by researchers from the University of Tennessee cited by the National Conference of State Legislatures, lost revenue from Internet sales for Mississippi was $303 million for fiscal year 2012, though other studies have contended that amount is inflated.

Films shot in Philadelphia fade to black amid state budget standoff 
PhillyVoice.com 
A 2014 study from the National Conference of State Legislatures found that 39 states and Puerto Rico offer some form of tax incentives designed to attract filmmakers.
 
Mass shootings draw attention to gun restrictions, mental health care 
The Blue Banner 
Texas will be one of eight states, along with Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Taking party politics out of mapping Colorado's electoral districts 
The Colorado Independent 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 14 states give the task of legislative-map drawing to groups other than their legislatures. Six states put their congressional map-drawing into the hands of an independent commission.

Nov. 23

Iowa refugee details process to come to America
DesMoinesRegister.com
More than 60 million people are displaced from their homes yearly and the U.S. accepts 70,000 annually, which means less than 1 percent of refugees worldwide will be admitted to America in a given year, according to the National Conference on State Legislators. Next year, Iowa was supposed to admit between 800 and 900 refugees from around the globe, the Register reported.
 
NY suspended driver's license laws are lax
Democrat and Chronicle
Several states have what appear to be much tougher laws than New York state for driving with a suspended license. The list of laws, compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, shows a variety of penalties. What stands out are the potential for jail sentences and the impounding of vehicles in some states. In Virginia, the offender’s car can be impounded for 30 days (or 90 days in the case of an accompanying DUI).
 
Adams State Is Locking In Four-Year Tuition Rates
Colorado Public Radio
The move may be good for students, but Dustin Weedon has researched guaranteed tuition for the National Conference of State Legislatures, and he says the financial stability it offers to students doesn't necessarily control tuition costs. "Illinois mandated that all institutions had to offer this program, and what they found is that tuition actually went up more than comparative states that didn't have this policy," Weedon said.
 
Democrat wins in Miss., thanks to draw of straw
The Boston Globe 
As stated by the National Conference of State Legislatures, 24 states lawfully determine the result of tied legislative elections by flipping coins or drawing straws. An Alaska Mint medallion was used, with a walrus on the "heads" side and the State of Alaska seal - the fancy crest on paper, not the kind of seal that swims - on the "tails" side. The Inside Korea - One voice, distributed to everywhere 

Sales tax collections mysteriously lagging
Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal
According to a study by researchers from the University of Tennessee cited by the National Conference of State Legislatures, lost revenue from Internet sales for Mississippi was $303 million for fiscal year 2012, though other studies have contended that amount is inflated.
 
High School Sex Ed Teaching 'Yes Means Yes' Rape Prevention
KCEN-TV
California is the first U.S. state to require "yes means yes" instruction in public high schools, starting next year. Lawmakers in Michigan, Minnesota and Oklahoma have introduced similar legislation, and at least 19 states require some kind of training on healthy relationships, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Coram wants voter ID measure
Montrose Daily Press
Thirty-six states have some form of voter ID law, varying in strictness, and some of these have spawned court challenges, per the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
NCSL publishes “refugee primer” 
The Capitol Fax Blog
“The US Refugee Resettlement Program: A Primer for Policymakers” published by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Florida legislators propose increasing term limits 
Miami Herald 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are 15 states with term limits for legislators today. Attempts to expand term limits to 12 years by modifying state constitutions have failed in California, Arkansas and Montana.

Nov. 20

Mississippi House Race to Be Decided by Luck of the 'Straw'
ABC News
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 24 states have laws that say a tied legislative election is decided by lot. That could be done by drawing straws or by flipping a coin.

Rand Paul's claim that cities and states led by Democrats have the worst income inequality
Washington Post
(NCSL Data Cited) Chart below, which we compiled using 2014 Census data and 2014 state leadership composition data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. States with the most inequality (excluding District of Columbia, which ranked the highest, with 0.522 Gini index).
  
Maine governor wants to take Nevada path — no state income tax
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Other states without a state income tax are Washington, Wyoming and Alaska, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Tennessee and New Hampshire have a limited individual income tax that only taxes income from interests and dividends. 

High school Sex Ed teaching 'Yes means yes' rape prevention
Centre Daily Times
California is the first U.S. state to require "yes means yes" instruction in public high schools, starting next year. Lawmakers in Michigan, Minnesota and Oklahoma have introduced similar legislation, and at least 19 states require some kind of training on healthy relationships, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

If passed, GOP transgender bathroom bill would be first in the nation
Madison 
Joellen Kralik, a research analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said similar legislation was introduced this year in Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota Missouri, Nevada and Texas, but none of the bills were enacted.
 
Enough with the commemorative designations already!
Detroit Metro Times
For instance, one in seven young people between the ages of 10 and 18 will run away, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Syrian refugees: Where are they now?
Steelers Lounge
Brenda Erickson, an analyst for the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, said the public typically knows who's writing a piece of legislation but not always its source. If the forged passport had been a USA passport, would we all have to self-deport? 

North Carolina upholds ban on sex offenders using Facebook
WRAL
At least eight states have enacted laws restricting sex offenders' use of the Internet in recent years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, though some laws have been successfully challenged in court.

Medical marijuana bill’s out of committee, could face vote as early as next week
Lancaster Online
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 23 states and the District of Columbia now allow for comprehensive public medical marijuana programs, and recently approved efforts in 17 states allow use of certain products “for medical reasons in limited situations or as a legal defense.”
 
Misunderstood Clean Power Plan Reduces Hardship Across The ...
CleanTechnica
The power plant limitation rule, which was in the works for years, has already been finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency. The plan sets state targets for reducing carbon pollution and should cut pollution from power plants by about a third (32%) from 2005 levels by 2030. (See map produced from National Conference of State Legislatures data via Deseret News.)

Nov. 19

Democrats just released a 2014 autopsy report. There’s only one sentence in it that matters.
Washington Post 
This map from the National Conference of State Legislatures tells that story in stark visual terms: (Visual Used)

APNewsBreak: Kasich Aides Helped Craft Abortion Restrictions 

ABC News 
Brenda Erickson, an analyst for the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, said the public typically knows who's writing a piece of legislation but not always its source. "Because legislatures can get ideas from anywhere — lobbyists, state agencies, the governor, other states, citizens — you often do not know what forces are driving these bills," she said. 
 
Medical marijuana bill's out of committee, could face vote as early as next week
LancasterOnline
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 23 states and the District of Columbia now now allow for comprehensive public medical marijuana programs, and recently approved efforts in 17 states allow use of certain products “for medical reasons in limited situations or as a legal defense.”
 
Charlie Sheen's HIV announcement should be a teachable moment 
Raw Story 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only 22 states require schools to teach sex education, and among them 19 states require that sex education must be medically, factually or technically accurate. In other words, three states that teach sex ed don’t require the information to be accurate.
 
Mark Pafford proposes extending legislative term limits 
Florida Politics
Fifteen states, including Florida, have imposed term limits on legislators, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In another six states, legislative term limits were enacted but later repealed or struck down by courts.
 
Sex-ed bill to strip local control of content nears vote 
NewBostonPost 
Among states that require it, 19 have laws that say it must be medically, factually or technically accurate, though the definition of those terms varies, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. It says 35 states let parents keep their kids out of sex-ed classes.
 
Carbon monoxide a 'silent killer'
Ontario Argus Observer
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Idaho state government requires carbon monoxide detectors be installed in private dwellings.
 
Closing digital divide one neighbor at a time
Charlotte Post
Sixteen organizations, including the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, National Organization of Black County Officials, and the National Conference of Black Mayors have called for increased Internet broadband access for low-income and rural communities. 
 
13 States That Drug Test Welfare Recipients -- And 19 More Giving it ...
IJ Review
As of July 2015, 13 states have passed laws regarding drug testing or screening for public assistance recipients and applicants, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Those states are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah.
  
Weighing the Benefits and Costs of Police Body Cameras
Samsung Business Insights 
As of spring 2015, the use of data from police body cameras had been approved in six states, with another 34 states taking legislation into consideration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Nov. 18

Automatic State Taxes Are Popular, But Are They Good Policy?
Governing
At least six other states _ Colorado, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Oregon _ have implemented tax cut "triggers" in the past two years that give refunds, credits or a reduction in rates to taxpayers or businesses on the grounds that government shouldn't hoard their money if it has sufficient revenue to run the state. The trigger trend began in California in the 1990s, according to Mandy Rafool, a state tax expert at the National Conference of State Legislatures. But in California, the taxes went both ways, up or down depending on the revenue raised in the preceding year.
 
Immigrant License Bill Could Be Dead on Arrival in New Jersey
Governing
Twelve states -- including Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland and Vermont -- and the District of Columbia offer driver's licenses to unauthorized immigrants, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Lawmakers seek to limit social media snooping
The Daily News of Newburyport
More than a dozen states — including California, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan and New Jersey — have passed laws in recent years banning educational institutions and corporations from demanding social-media passwords. Similar legislation has been proposed in 20 other states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
As Drone Use Soars, Metro Phoenix Cities Consider Restrictions 
Phoenix New Times 
At least 25 states have enacted laws addressing drones and five others have passed resolutions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Arizona does not have a drone-specific law, but there are guidelines that require that the aircraft be kept under 400 feet and not flown within five miles of an airport. 
 
Cities and States Try to Crack Down on Distracted Bicycling
Government Technology
Distracted biking legislation also has failed in Oregon, New York and Virginia, according to Douglas Shinkle, a transportation policy expert for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Shinkle said he has heard from legislators concerned about distracted biking, but the issue hasn’t gotten much attention because it is still relatively new. Traffic safety researchers aren’t entirely sure how much it occurs and to what degree it increases risk, he said. “There’s the need for more research on this because it’s not a well-understood issue,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more bills introduced in the next couple of years, given that a number of cities have instituted such laws.

NJ Gov. Christie Signs Biosimilars Substitution Law
Pharmaceutical Processing
As of Nov. 9, 31 states have seen bills or resolutions filed related to biologics and/or biosimilars, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Input sought from Medicaid stakeholders in streamlining effort
Ripon Advance
Among those receiving copies of the letter were the National Association of Medicaid Directors, National Governors Association, Medicaid and Chip Payment and Access Commission, Medicaid Health Plans of America, Association for Community Affiliated Health Plans, National Conference of State Legislatures, America’s Essential Hospitals, National Quality Forum, Children’s Hospital Association and the American Health Care Association.
 
Commentaries: 2 Takes On Ousting Norm McAllister
Vermont Public Radio
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Vermont has never expelled a sitting member of the Legislature. Part of the reason expulsion is rare may be the tension between several parts of the Vermont and U.S. Constitutions.
 
Lawmakers seek to limit schools' social media snooping
Claremore Daily Progress
More than a dozen states — including California, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan and New Jersey — have passed laws in recent years banning educational institutions and corporations from demanding social-media passwords. Similar legislation has been proposed in 20 other states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Nov. 17

N.J. considers driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants
Philly.com
Twelve states - including Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland and Vermont - and the District of Columbia offer driver's licenses to unauthorized immigrants, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The New Jersey proposal appears to be "much in the line of what other states have tried to do," requiring that unauthorized immigrants seeking the licenses have residency in the state and provide certain forms of documentation, said Ann Morse of the Immigrant Policy Project of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Maryland, Virginia Get Poor Grades On Integrity Scorecard
WAMU
More than two-third of Americans say they have given up on Washington and look to their state governments for policy solutions-- but are states up to the job? Transparency and accountability are key to effective governing, and a new report suggest that many states are failing at both.
 Interview with Mark Quiner 
 
Dems invite independent voters to primary polls
Enid News & Eagle
It’s “very rare” for any state to alter its primary system, said Daniel Diorio, an elections policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures. “States are hesitant to mess with their primary systems,” he said. “They do it in rare instances.”
 
Officials hope public-private plan speeds Red River flood project
Minnesota Public Radio News
The U.S. Department of Transportation has used public-private partnerships for projects. It's more common in many other countries, including Canada. A National Conference of State Legislatures report found these efforts often cost less and are finished sooner.
 
It's legal under federal law to rent out recalled cars - but maybe not for long
Auto Insurance Center
In California, a pending measure known as the Consumer Automotive Recall Safety Act would prohibit the rental of vehicles subject to a recall no later than 48 hours of receiving notice of a recall, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The measure would require the rental car company to repair the recalled vehicle before renting it out again.

News The Snitch Tech, Housing, Politics
SF Weekly
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 10 states allow at least some civilians to carry concealed weapons on college campuses, either because of legislation or a court decision.

Data dive: Surprising statistics on four-day schools
Idaho EdNews
It’s hard to tell where Idaho ranks nationally, in terms of four-day schools. In 2013, the National Conference of State Legislatures said 120 districts in 21 states had adopted a four-day schedule. By now, both numbers are outdated, and probably too low.
 
When something goes wrong at the hospital, who pays?
Bend Bulletin
The 2010 health law requires Medicaid implement a similar policy, which may be easier in theory than in practice, said Rachel Morgan, health and human services committee director at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Dems invite independent voters to primary polls
Muskogee Phoenix
It’s “very rare” for any state to alter its primary system, said Daniel Diorio, an elections policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures. “States are hesitant to mess with their primary systems,” he said. “They do it in rare instances.” Eleven states operate open primaries, which allow any voter to cast a ballot, according the group. Eleven other states have closed primaries, which only allow registered party voters to participate.
 
Is an automated vote count good enough? State, parties to petition disagree 
The Keene Sentinel 
Not all audits are the same, according to a 2012 edition of The Canvass, a newsletter issued by the National Conference of State Legislatures. A classic audit, according to the article, looks at a fixed percentage of a precinct’s votes. In California at the time, according to the newsletter, the law required 1 percent of a precinct’s votes to be hand-counted to ensure accuracy of the vote.
 
Hatch, Wyden Seek Input on How to Improve Medicaid Reporting Requirements 
Utah Policy 
The letter was sent to the National Association of Medicaid Directors, National Governors Association, Medicaid and Chip Payment and Access Commission, Medicaid Health Plans of America, Association for Community Affiliated Health Plans, National Conference of State Legislatures, America’s Essential Hospitals, National Quality Forum, Children’s Hospital Association and the American Health Care Association.
 
Voter reform over the lengthy haul: NJ Dems anticipated Christie veto, now be a part of nationwide battle
The Times
Online registration in particular has been “just rocking through the country” the last several years, said Wendy Underhill, elections program manager for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Nov. 16

Body cameras and the law
WTAJ
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in the last year, eight states considered requiring all police to use body cameras. Pennsylvania is not one of them; but that could change, with a bill proposed in Harrisburg earlier this year.
 
Senate votes to eliminate straight-ticket voting
Midland Daily News
Now, the legislation heads to the House to be considered during its next session, which begins Dec. 1. Along with Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Utah, Michigan is one of only 10 states that allows straight-ticket voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.
 
Voter reform over the lengthy haul: NJ Dems anticipated Christie veto, now be a part of nationwide battle
The Times
Online registration in particular has been “just rocking through the country” the last several years, said Wendy Underhill, elections program manager for the National Conference of State Legislatures. In 2008, when Obama was first elected, just two states allowed online voter registration. Now 26 states plus the District of Columbia do, and Florida, New Mexico and Oklahoma — all states with Republican governors and, with the exception of New Mexico’s state Senate, Republican majorities — passed laws this year to go online with registration, Underhill said.

The POLITICO Wrongometer
Politico
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley touted his battle to increase the state's minimum wage: "$10.10 was all I could get the state to do by the time I left in my last year," he said. But Maryland's minimum wage is actually $8.25. It's scheduled for stair-step increases over the next three years, and won't hit $10.10 until July 1, 2018, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Hatch, Wyden Seek Input on How to Improve Medicaid Reporting Requirements
Utah Policy
Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) sent a letter to Medicaid stakeholders seeking input on improving the quality, efficiency, transparency and accountability of the program. The letter was sent to the National Association of Medicaid Directors, National Governors Association, Medicaid and Chip Payment and Access Commission, Medicaid Health Plans of America, Association for Community Affiliated Health Plans, National Conference of State Legislatures, America’s Essential Hospitals, National Quality Forum, Children’s Hospital Association and the American Health Care Association.
 
Is an automated vote count good enough? State, parties to petition disagree
The Keene Sentinel
Not all audits are the same, according to a 2012 edition of The Canvass, a newsletter issued by the National Conference of State Legislatures. A classic audit, according to the article, looks at a fixed percentage of a precinct’s votes. In California at the time, according to the newsletter, the law required 1 percent of a precinct’s votes to be hand-counted to ensure accuracy of the vote.

Nov. 13

4 college educator groups to oppose laws allowing guns on campuses
Fox News
Texas recently became the eighth state to allow the carrying of concealed weapons on campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The change goes into effect next year, and colleges are considering how to implement it. The law contains a key concession for opponents, giving administrators the ability to mark off certain areas as gun-free. Seven other states — Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin — now have laws or court rulings allowing the carrying of concealed weapons on some campuses, according to the NCSL.

Obama Legacy in State Offices: A Shrinking Democratic Share 
New York Times 
“Republicans have more chambers today than they have ever had in the history of the party,” said Tim Storey, an analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “So they are in a dominant and historic position of strength in the states.”
 
Washington prosecutors want death-penalty referendum
The Seattle Times
The death penalty is allowed in 31 states, as well as by the federal government and the U.S. military, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Since 2009, five states — New Mexico, Illinois, Connecticut, Maryland and Nebraska — have abolished it.
 
Bad Scholarship? Montana Agency Tries to Bar Religious Schools From Tax Credit
National Catholic Register
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 15 states have passed scholarship tax credit programs, which are different from voucher systems, where parents receive public funds to send their children to private schools.
 
Senator: Part-time legislature would be more efficient 
Pacific Daily News 
McCreadie’s proposed part-time Legislature would be similar to the general assemblies of most states, which have senators and house representatives who on average spend 70 percent of their time on legislative business, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Teen mothers face greater challenges, but in Santa Fe there are resources to alleviate the struggle
Santa Fe New Mexican
Teen parents face a number of challenges — including graduating high school. New Mexico’s dropout rate is one of the highest in the nation, and according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, teen pregnancy is a significant risk-factor that makes students more likely to drop out.
 
California vaccine refusers cluster in rich, white areas
Medical Xpress
California is technically still one of those states, but a law passed earlier this year will end personal belief exemptions in that state in July 2016, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
 
Costly, and often deadly, medical errors prompt calls for hospitals to accept fault
Healthcare Finance News
The 2010 health law requires Medicaid implement a similar policy, which may be easier in theory than in practice, said Rachel Morgan, health and human services committee director at the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Healey, MIT lend support to affirmative action
The Huntington News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, affirmative action was introduced in the 1960s to incorporate minority groups into education and the workforce.
 
New type of legislative study
The Hennessey clipper
The first study focused on innovative education ideas and reforms from other states and other countries. Speakers from the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Southern Region Education Board, along with a leading expert from Paris, presented information to lawmakers on education best practices from around the globe.

Rand Paul on Income Inequality
FactCheck.org
But Democrats control both the governor’s office and the legislature in only three of the 10 states, Connecticut, California and Rhode Island, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Five of the states have Republican governors and legislatures (Louisiana, Florida, Texas, Tennessee and Georgia), according to NCSL data.

Nov. 12

Couple Launches College Scholarship Fund To Raise Millions For Veterans
Huffington Post
The majority of veterans on college campuses are considered "non-traditional," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, because they are older, did not enter college directly after high school or have families who are dependent on them.
 
CINDY COOKE: Honoring veterans by improving health care
Washington Times
Such data-driven evidence has led national policy organizations and government bodies — the Federal Trade Commission, AARP, Institute of Medicine, National Governors Association and National Conference of State Legislatures — to urge greater autonomy for nurse practitioners across the nation.
 
Early voting coalition seeks to increase voter turnout
Daily Free Press
Currently 33 states provide early voting days, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. States such as Wisconsin, Alaska and Iowa that provided early voting days during the 2014 election cycle saw higher voter turnout rates than states like New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware that provided no early voting days, according to the United States Elections Project.
 
Bill seeking to remove straight ticket voting passes in Senate
MI News 26
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Michigan is one of only ten states that allow straight-ticket voting.
 
Leaders Push for Seat Belts on School Buses
WDAY
California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, and Texas have passed some variation of a seat belt law for school buses according The National Conference of State Legislatures.

Nov. 11

Report: College Is Failing Young U.S. Veterans
Bloomberg
Higher education enrollment for military veterans surged after the expansion of the Serviceman's Readjustment Act of 1944, called the Post-9/11 GI Bill, in 2008, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The expanded provisions of the GI Bill gave veterans more education benefits including funds for housing and books, and allowed them to pass those benefits to their dependents. As a result, the report shows, 65 percent of military service members and veterans didn't borrow money for higher education.

Texas universities bracing for concealed guns in campus buildings
Los Angeles Times
Texas is among eight states that allow concealed carrying of weapons on public college campuses. The other states are Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. (With Graphic)

When Something Goes Wrong At The Hospital, Who Pays?
Kitsap Sun
The 2010 health law requires Medicaid implement a similar policy, which may be easier in theory than in practice, said Rachel Morgan, health and human services committee director at the National Conference of State Legislatures. It takes time and requires expertise for state Medicaid agencies to review hospital charges and then determine if the services were in fact the result of error.

State Senate Committee Clears Bill to Abolish 'Straight-Ticket' Voting in Michigan
WNWN-FM
The National Conference of State Legislatures says Michigan is one of 11 states that allow straight-ticket voting. Republicans say that ending this would eliminate confusion and force voters to better educate themselves; Democrats counter that this could drive voters away from the ballot box.

Victims' hopes for justice fade as rape kits are routinely ignored or destroyed
The Guardian
But the state has no statute governing how long police should keep DNA evidence collected from crime scenes, such as rape kits, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Center for Victims of Crime (both in 2013).

In Off-Year Elections, Ky., Miss., Drew Spotlight
Education Week 
The partisan control of state legislatures, therefore, is slated to hold steady, with Republicans controlling 30 statehouses, compared to 11 run by Democrats, eight that are split, and one nonpartisan body, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Nurse Practitioners Urge Solution for VA Health Delays This Veterans Day
ADVANCE for NPs & PAs
Such data-driven evidence has led national policy organizations and government bodies - the Federal Trade Commission, AARP, Institute of Medicine, National Governors Association and National Conference of State Legislatures - to urge greater autonomy for NPs across the nation. Currently, 21 states and the District of Columbia grant NPs full-practice authority. 

Senate Republicans seek to eliminate straight-ticket voting in Michigan elections
MLive.com
Michigan is one of just 10 states that currently allows straight-ticket voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Federal government: School buses should have seat belts
MassLive.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, and Texas have passed some type of seat belt law for school buses" and some 12 states have introduced bills requiring "school buses to have seat belts installed, but none of the bills have passed."

Texas gets D- in 2015 state integrity probe
Waco Tribune-Herald
Texas is one of about a dozen states that permit unlimited individual campaign contributions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Report: Mass. at risk due to draining of state rainy day fund
wwlp.com
The National Conference of State Legislators suggests a “healthy” stabilization fund balance includes reserves equal to 5 percent of state expenditures.

Congress Needs to Move on Wildfire Prevention Funding
Times of San Diego
That’s why in August I authored a resolution at the National Conference of State Legislatures to support federal policy changes that free up new investments in wildfire prevention activities, such as the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act. The resolution was adopted unanimously with strong bipartisan support and will allow the conference to advocate on behalf of these important policy changes, throwing the weight of all 50 state legislatures behind it.

Career Moves For Northwest Native Leaders 
Indian Country Today Media Network 
Morris, a legislator since 1997, is former speaker pro tem of the House. He serves on the executive committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

State Senate Committee Clears Bill to Abolish 'Straight-Ticket' Voting in Michigan
Win 98.5
The National Conference of State Legislatures says Michigan is one of 11 states that allow straight-ticket voting. Republicans say that ending this would eliminate confusion and force voters to better educate themselves; Democrats counter that this could drive voters away from the ballot box.

Nov. 10

Analysis: Do Democrats' Differences on Immigration Matter to Latinos?
NBCNews.com
On another issue, at least 18 states allow immigrants here without legal permission to pay in-state tuition at colleges and universities, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Another two states allow the immigrant students to pay in-state tuition if they get approval from the Board of Regents, the NCSL said. In Virginia, it is granted to students with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

NHTSA Leader Pushes for Seat Belts on School Buses
KSTP.com
California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, and Texas have passed some variation of a seat belt law for school buses according The National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
New Jersey lawmakers to hold hearing on marijuana legalization
PhillyVoice.com
Recreational marijuana use has been legalized in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. Twenty-three states, including New Jersey, have legalized medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Leader of Democrats in Florida Senate pushes for 68% pay hike for lawmakers
Miami Herald
The base salary of the Florida Legislature now ranks 20th in the nation after Alabama raised its salary in 2014 for legislators to $42,829, equal to the median household income in that state. California has the highest base salary at $97,197 a year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Pennsylvania and New York are next, with $85,338 and $79,500 respectively.
 
Christie signs powdered alcohol ban
NJ.com
But lawmakers have sought the ban the product, and as of October, there were bills before legislative bodies in 40 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico seeking to ban or limit its sale, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Christie vetoes bill that would expand early voting, voter registration
NorthJersey.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 33 states and the District of Columbia allow some form of early voting in person. New Jersey allows mail-in ballots and absentee voting, but allows in-person voting only on Election Day.
 
Voters approve anti-tax ballot measure that is headed for challenge 
Peninsula Daily 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about a dozen states require a legislative supermajority to raise any taxes or fees. 
 
Can Non-Residents Vote in Local Elections Where They Own ...
IVN News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Delaware, Connecticut, and New Mexico are the only three states in the country that allow non-residents to vote in municipal or town elections.
 
Your Credit Report Could Keep You From Getting a New Job
Glamour
Ten states have put in place laws that limit or ban an employer from checking your credit report during the hiring process, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In other states, employers must access your credit report under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which has set a few restrictions on what employers can view on your credit report and how they can use it to screen you as a job candidate.
 
In Texas, political scandals are big, too
El Paso Times
Texas is one of about a dozen states that permit unlimited individual campaign contributions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Will Mile Taxes Replace Gas Taxes?: Oregon Pilot Program Test
The Auto Channel
Oregon isn’t the first state to contemplate replacing declining revenue from a gas tax with a per-mile tax. Recently, California has started its own mileage tax study. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, during the last seven years, 19 other states looked into 55 proposals surrounding mileage-based fees.

Nov. 9

'Sexting' Case Rocks Colorado Town
Wall Street Journal
At least 20 states have updated their laws since 2009 to account for youth “sexting,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a tally matching one kept by the Cyberbullying Research Center.
 
US Watch
Wall Street Journal
At least eight states have enacted laws restricting sex offenders’ use of the Internet in recent years, according to the National Conference of State 
 
Voters approve anti-tax ballot measure that is headed for challenge
Peninsula Daily
In August, the state Supreme Court said the Legislature will be sanctioned $100,000 a day until lawmakers deliver a plan to fully fund education. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about a dozen states require a legislative supermajority to raise any taxes or fees.
A handful of other states require a supermajority in order to raise specific taxes, like income or sales tax.

Public Weighs in on Scholarship Tax Credit Rule Proposal 
Flathead Beacon 
Scholarship tax credit programs are an alternative to school voucher programs, and 15 states as of last year had some version of the tax credits, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

It's official: Voters approve Eyman's anti-tax ballot measure 
KOMO News 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about a dozen states require a legislative supermajority to raise any taxes or fees. A handful of other states require a supermajority in order to raise specific taxes, like income or sales tax.
 
State upholds ban on sex offenders using Facebook 
WCTI12.com 
At least eight states have enacted laws restricting sex offenders’ use of the internet in recent years according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, though some laws have been successfully challenged in court.
 
Third Affordable Care Act Enrollment Period Underway
Financial Company Voices
The DCNF analysis reviewed price data for all four plans obtained from CMS, insurance companies, state insurance regulators and the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Vigilance required to keep kids' info safe after breach
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
The National Conference of State Legislatures cited data that 1 in 40 families with children under 18 had at least one child whose personal information was compromised. Some of the misuse may originate in families or by someone known to the child. Other theft could stem from breaches of computer databases.
 
Why your Maine license may not help you board a plane next year
Bangor Daily News
In 2007, Maine became the first state to reject Real ID; 26 other states followed suit, passing laws prohibiting compliance or resolutions opposing it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. To date, 33 states and territories aren’t in full compliance with Real ID.

'Think tank' butchers pension reform facts
NMPolitics.net
In an attempt to provide a sheen of respectability to the study, DiSalvo cites the bipartisan, policy-wonkish National Conference of State Legislatures as the source for its data. But NCSL’s own publications on pensions directly contradict much, if not most, of DiSalvo’s 50-state chart. I called NCSL when I saw that incorrect data were attributed to them. Their pension expert, Luke Martel, told me that they were indeed well aware of the numerous pension changes made in New Mexico, and for some time have been including several pages about New Mexico in one of their national studies that they’ve presented all over the country. He was kind enough to send a link, which is available for anyone with a computer to see here.

New study: North Dakota has nation’s highest rate of overweight kids
The Dickinson Press 
WalletHub turned to the National Conference of State Legislatures to get the percentage of overweight kids. The most recent figures from 2011 show 20.4 percent of children 10 to 17 in North Dakota were overweight.

Nov. 6

States Searching For Ways to Pay for Construction and Maintenance of Roads and Bridges
Huffington Post
Between 2008 and 2014, at least 19 states considered 55 measures related to mileage-based fees, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Vermont and Washington enacted bills to study per-mile fees in 2012. 

Oregon nonprofit files suit to reinstate driver cards law for ...
Fox News Latino
Twelve states and the District of Columbia now have laws that allow immigrants lacking legal status to obtain a driver's card or license, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
How Can We Get Ready for Self-Driving Cars?
Government Technology
Already, six states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation aimed at creating an orderly and managed process for testing and introducing autonomous-vehicle traffic in their jurisdictions, according to data collected by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Utah's threshold economy breaks through
Deseret News
Utah has also reached a threshold when it comes to national political leadership credentials. Gov. Gary Herbert chairs the powerful National Governors Association, Mayor Ralph Becker chairs the National League of Cities, and Sen. Curt Bramble chairs the National Conference of State Legislatures. Sen. Orrin Hatch stands third in the presidential line of succession and chairs the influential Senate Committee on Finance. These are remarkable political feats for an interior Western state.
 
Ohio rejection of recreational marijuana a "positive", says Michigan pot advocate
GazetteUnion,com
Since 2012, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for adult recreational use and 23 states have approved medical pot, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Public mulls exclusion of religious schools from Montana tax credit
Billings Gazette
Scholarship tax credit programs are an alternative to school voucher programs, and 15 states as of last year had some version of the tax credits, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Failed prevailing wage repeal petition drive prompts calls for investigation, prosecution
MLive.com
Seven states, including Ohio and California, require circulators to disclose whether they are paid or volunteer, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some states also have election laws that prohibit unethical behavior by circulators, including attempts to knowingly misrepresent the contents of a petition.
 
UMD Medical Students Have Opportunities to Work in Rural Areas
KSTP.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only about 11 percent of the nation's physicians work in rural areas, despite nearly 20 percent of Americans living there.
 
Bill allowing undocumented immigrants drivers permits drawing attention
WGBA-TV
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures 12 states and the District of Columbia issue these permits to illegal immigrants, however Illinois is the only state in the Midwest to do so.

Lawsuit challenges Oregon's enforcement of Measure 88, which invalidated driver card law 
Minneapolis Star Tribune 
Twelve states and the District of Columbia now have laws that allow immigrants lacking legal status to obtain a driver's card or license, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
US colleges too gun-shy? 
Webster Journal 
The National Conference of State Legislature (NCSL) reported that in the U.S., eight states allow students to carry concealed weapons on campus.
  
Student Senate talks guns
Exponent
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Utah is the only state to have a statute specifically naming public colleges and universities as public entities that do not have the authority to ban concealed carry.

SEIU Infighting over $15 Minimum Wage Push
Steelers Lounge
Washington, D.C., increased its minimum wage to $10.50 an hour in July, breaking the $10 mark among states and territories, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Steelers Lounge 
 
Ohio attorney general believes legal medical marijuana is likely
WLWT Cincinnati
Ohio residents voted down a measure that would have made both recreational and medicinal marijuana legal on Nov. 3. Take a look at which states currently allow marijuana for recreational and/or medicinal purposes, compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures

Lawsuit Aims To Reinstate Driver Cards Law Dumped By Voters
Jefferson Public Radio
Twelve states and the District of Columbia now have laws that allow immigrants lacking legal status to obtain a driver's card or license, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Woman advocated for mammogram coverage
Sioux Falls Argus Leader
Meyer’s efforts were nationally recognized in 1991. She was honored at the National Conference of State Legislative Women’s Network being awarded with the Unsung Hero Award.
 
States look for help with bilingual mental health

Tri-City Herald
Many states are looking for ways to encourage more college students to study mental health and continue on to graduate school in the field. But only California is making bilingual and cultural knowledge an explicit priority, said Karmen Hanson of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Governor Makes Massive Announcement Restricting Welfare, Liberal s Blow Their Tops 
Western Journalism
At least 13 states have passed provisions similar to Wisconsin’s, according to the National Conference of States Legislatures. They are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah.
 
Public weighs in on Montana scholarship tax credit rule proposal
Missoulian
Scholarship tax credit programs are an alternative to school voucher programs, and 15 states as of last year had some version of the tax credits, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Nov. 5

Public weighs in on scholarship tax credit rule proposal
Washington Times
Scholarship tax credit programs are an alternative to school voucher programs, and 15 states as of last year had some version of the tax credits, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Ohio Votes Down Marijuana Legalization: Why & what it means for Illinois
NPR
(Audio Link) On Tuesday, voters in Ohio considered whether to legalize both medical and recreational marijuana use. It would have created a new provision in the state's constitution that allowed only ten farms to grow the plant legally. That plan had its critics, and the measure failed. Many experts have their eye on Ohio - as it serves as an example of Midwestern residents trying to take on the legalization issue that has swept Colorado and the West Coast. We spoke with a policy analyst from the National Conference of State Legislatures, Karmen Hanson, about it - and what it could mean for states like Illinois.
 
State ballot initiatives: from animal trafficking to marijuana legalization
WBEZ
(Audio File) Wendy Underhill, program manager for elections at the National Conference of State Legislatures, joins Here & Now's Robin Young to take a look at state ballot initiatives.
 
Here's Where Republicans (And Some Democrats) Won on Tuesday
TIME
“Virginia has become the most competitive battleground in all of state legislatures,” said Tim Storey, election expert for the National Conference on State Legislatures. “It’s switched back and forth between both parties multiple times in the past five or six years.”
 
Maine voters approve revamped campaign finance law
Reuters
In 2014, independent groups including political action committees spent at least $14 million to sway Maine voters, more than the candidates themselves, according to Maine Ethics Commission filings. The pattern is the same nationally, according to Katy Owens Hubler, of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Only Connecticut and Arizona now have programs similar to Maine's, Hubler said. 

Houston voters reject measure to protect LGBT residents, 13 other groups
Jewocity.com
On Election Day, Wendy Underhill, program manager for the National Conference of State Legislatures, examines a few of the issues on the ballot this year. 
 
GOP lawmaker shifts stance on immigrant licenses, proposes 2-tier
Santa Fe New Mexican
In January, Hawaii and Deleware will join states that issue either a driver’s license or a driving privilege card to residents without legal statues, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, an organization that tracks laws that have been approved in all 50 states.
 
Legislative report from the People’s House
Baxley News-Banner
 In fact, according to the National Conference of State Legislators, 33 states have introduced over 80 bills related to arming school personnel since the tragedy. Georgia is one of only nine states that successfully enacted a bill. 
 
High school sexual education classes lacking uniformity
Kansas State Collegian
For many years now, the topic of sex education in high schools has been a touchy subject. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 22 of 50 states require that public schools teach sex education, and 33 states require students be educated about HIV and AIDS.
 
From the battlefield to Ithaca's South Hill
The Ithacan
According to the NCSL, the Post-9/11 GI Bill enables veterans to receive higher education at a cheaper cost by having the government pay for part of their tuition and also providing a monthly stipend. Even though this bill gives veterans a better chance to pay for college, the NCSL reports that veterans can still struggle adjusting to a college atmosphere.

Nov. 4

Republicans whip Democrats in key state races
Yahoo News
“Virginia has become the most competitive battleground in all of state legislatures,” said Tim Storey, election expert for the National Conference on State Legislatures. “It’s switched back and forth between both parties multiple times in the past five or six years.”
 
Ohioans Reject Plan to Legalize Pot Controlled by Investors
Bloomberg
Since 2012, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for adult recreational use and 23 states have approved medical pot, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Election Day 2015: Voters Weigh In on Marijuana, LGBT Rights
WNYC - NPR
(Audio) On Election Day, Wendy Underhill, program manager for the National Conference of State Legislatures, examines some of the issues on the ballot this year.
 
Maine Voters Approve Revamped Campaign Finance Law
Newsmax 
 In 2014, independent groups including political action committees spent at least $14 million to sway Maine voters, more than the candidates themselves, according to Maine Ethics Commission filings. The pattern is the same nationally, according to Katy Owens Hubler, of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Only Connecticut and Arizona now have programs similar to Maine's, Hubler said.
 
GOP lawmaker shifts stance on immigrant licenses, proposes 2-tier system
Santa Fe New Mexican
And despite Real ID, more states have passed laws in recent years offering driving privileges to undocumented immigrants. In January, Hawaii and Delaware will join states that issue either a driver’s license or a driving privilege card to residents without legal status, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, an organization that tracks laws that have been approved in all 50 states. 

Scott Walker approves administrative rule to require drug testing for public benefits
Madison.com
At least 12 states have passed similar laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Legislators go back to school in Parsippany
NorthJersey.com
The America’s Legislators Back to School Program was founded in 1999 to educate students about our system of representative democracy. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) provides educational materials about representative democracy for legislators’ use in the presentations to K-12 classes. The bipartisan program, sponsored by NCSL’s Trust for Representative Democracy, encourages lawmakers to visit classrooms to help students understand and appreciate our system of representative democracy.
 
Oldham addresses questions from students during his Chat with the President
Tennessee Tech Oracle
Because of recent state legislation and court rulings, eight states now have provisions allowing the carrying of concealed weapons on public postsecondary campuses,” according to an article on the National Conference of State Legislatures website. “These states are Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.”
 
Will Washington state join other states cracking down on ivory trade?
Chinadaily USA
More than 24 wildlife-trafficking bills were introduced in 19 states and the District of Columbia in 2015, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most died.

Pot Class for NY Doctors
New York Press
That law will require physicians to complete a training course offered by the state’s medical association. Florida’s program is so constrained that the National Conference of State Legislatures does not include it in its list of the 23 states with comprehensive laws.
 
State senate considers budget-only sessions
Tahlequah Daily Press
Seven other states already limit their sessions every other year to budgetary matters – Arkansas, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maine, New Mexico, North Carolina and Wyoming, said researcher Brenda Erickson with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
How did you learn about sex?
Daily Kos
Here's a very startling statistic about sex education in the United States. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, while slightly more than half of the states provide at least some instruction about HIV/AIDS prevention, less than half actually require sex education in public schools. Only 13 states discuss sex from the perspective of different sexual orientations beyond heterosexuality, and of those states 4 require "only negative information on sexual orientation."
 
Auto Insurance discrimination or good business? Advocates say certain pricing strategies are unfair to the poor
Auto Insurance Center
Regulators are also keeping their eye on these kinds of practices. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, three states — California, Hawaii and Massachusetts — say that credit scores cannot be used to set auto insurance rates, and another 24 states have recently examined the issue. This year alone, according to the NCSL, 10 states have taken up pieces of legislation related to restricting the factors rates can be based on. 

Nov. 3

Ohioans Decide Whether to Let Investors Control Legalized Marijuana
Bloomberg
Since 2012, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for adult recreational use and 23 states have approved medical pot, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Maine to vote on revamping pioneering campaign-finance law
Reuters
The pattern is the same nationally, according to Katy Owens Hubler, of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Only Connecticut and Arizona now have programs similar to Maine's, Hubler said. "Public financing has fallen out of favor in the states because of this huge influx of money from outside groups," Hubler said. "The question is what to do about it."

Mississippi voters to decide how schools should be funded
PBS NewsHour
Tweaking the constitution is not unheard of in Mississippi. In 2014, 88 percent of the state’s voters amended their constitution to preserve the right to hunt and fish, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But questions remain about how this change would pan out for the cash-strapped state.
 
Oklahoma Senate panel eyes budget-only legislative sessions
KRMG
Seven other states already limit their sessions every other year to budgetary matters — Arkansas, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maine, New Mexico, North Carolina and Wyoming, said researcher Brenda Erickson with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Many rape kits remain unanalyzed in Corridor, elsewhere in nation 
The Gazette
Eight states, including Illinois, Colorado and Connecticut, have passed measures addressing sexual assault evidence issues, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that tracks state legislation trends throughout the country.
 
Obamacare Premiums to Soar 3 Times Faster Than Feds Claim
News Radio 850KOA
The DCNF analysis reviewed price data for all four plans obtained from CMS, insurance companies, state insurance regulators and the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Monday news briefs
Kansas State Collegian
According to the federal government, the national economy grew only 1.5 percent during the summer. According to Arturo Perez, a fiscal analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, the U.S. is still recovering since the end of the Great Recession in 2009.
 
Inside Politics: Trump still favored in N.C.
Fayetteville Observer
State Rep. John Szoka, a Cumberland County Republican, announced last week he was appointed to the following boards: the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operation, which evaluates policies and procedures of state government, and the National Conference of State Legislators Task Force, which seeks to simplify state and local sales taxes.
 
Trends suggest Kansas headed for more budget difficulties
Capital-Journal Online
Kansas isn’t alone in facing budget issues: The national economy grew only 1.5 percent from July to September, according to the federal government. The U.S. has seen a “tepid” recovery since the end of the Great Recession in 2009, and there is no expectation of a change, said Arturo Perez, a fiscal analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Nov. 2

Trends suggest Kansas headed for more budget difficulties
Cache Valley Daily
Kansas isn't alone in facing budget issues: The national economy grew only 1.5 percent from July to September, according to the federal government. The U.S. has seen a "tepid" recovery since the end of the Great Recession in 2009 and there's no expectation of a change, said Arturo Perez, a fiscal analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Do you have what it takes to vote? ...
New Philadelphia Times Reporter
About eight states generally require voters to show photo IDs. Kansas and Arizona are the only states enforcing requirements that people provide proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or passport, before they can be registered to vote, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
The road to a funding problem
Times News
This year, seven states — Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah and Washington — passed legislation to increase gas taxes, while Kentucky and North Carolina altered the structure of their taxes in order to limit decreasing revenues, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
STEVE FAIR: State cuts of 10 percent reasonable 
Stillwater News Press 
The National Conference of State Legislatures is not a fan of ZBB and claims it is “unworkable.”
 
Steve Fair: Next state budget will be a challenge
Tulsa World
The National Conference of State Legislatures is not a fan of zero-based budgeting and claims it is "unworkable." The NCSL says: "In its original sense, ZBB meant that no past decisions are taken for granted. Every previous budget decision is up for review. Existing and proposed programs are on an equal footing, and the traditional state practice of altering almost all existing budget lines by small amounts every year or two would be swept away.
 
Pa. is one of the only states where minors can buy e-cigarettes
LancasterOnline
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, that tally has now risen to “at least 48 states and two territories.”
 
SPLC Unhinged: Almost Everyone Is a “Conspiracy Theorist”
The New American
We’ll know we’ve succeeded when the curriculum and the tests are aligned to these [Common Core] standards,” Gates told the National Conference of State Legislatures about his agenda. (Gates was not labeled a conspiracy theorist by the SPLC.)    
 
Elahe Izadi: Marijuana use doubles in 12 years
Tulsa World
Starting in 2012, states began legalizing small amounts of marijuana for adult recreational use; it’s now legal in four states and the District of Columbia. And medical marijuana is now legal in 23 states and the District, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Powdered Alcohol Or 'Palcohol' Just Got Banned In Michigan
Morning News USA
According to the National Conference of State Legislature, the U.S. Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) approved labels for Palcohol stating that it can be added to water to make an alcoholic beverage back in April 2014. 
 
Bringing wellness within reach: Julian Award winner, Shaneka ...
Mountain Xpress
Some would say Shaneka has fought the odds her whole life. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only 40 percent of women who have a baby while in high school receive their diplomas, and less than 2 percent finish college by the time they are 30 years old. But Shaneka graduated from Erwin High School in 2007.
 
Pa. is one of the only states where minors can buy e-cigarettes
Lancaster Online
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, that tally has now risen to “at least 48 states and two territories.”
 
Advocates spar as PARCC vote nears
Newburyport Daily News 
Three states have rejected Common Core, and more than a dozen others considering doing the same, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.