NCSL in the News | November 2017

11/1/2017

Nov. 30

Pennsylvania Bill Would Make Possessing Skimmers Illegal
NACS Online
So far, 31 states have laws against skimming devices, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Boston City Council passes citywide plastic bag ban
Boston Business Journal
Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, and Los Angeles are among the US cities that have banned plastic bags, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, according to MassLive.

Cannabis could be boost for state farmers
Virginia Gazette
At least 26 states have legal hemp research and pilot programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Virginia is one of them.

Jeremy Alford: Cybersecurity new political issue
The Franklin Sun
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 42 states have introduced more than 240 bills or resolutions this calendar year related to cybersecurity.

Child support – what is it, who pays, why it's important
Wahpeton Daily News
Child support collection also positively affects family relationships and increases the involvement of noncustodial parents in children’s lives, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Across the Country, Election Officials Search for Ways to Keep Up With Security Threats
Government Technology
Other states have taken technological advances further, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Polly Fox Academy to continue 15 year legacy with community support
13 ABC Action News
Fewer than 2% finish college by age 30 according to the National Conference of State Legislators

PA Lawmakers Float Stringent Budget Bill To Save Money
WVIK
But Erica MacKellar, a senior policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said a number have tried it since the great recession, and have typically found it took up too many resources.  

Nov. 29

Congress Shouldn’t Rub SALT in the Wound
Huff Post
Many leading bipartisan and nonpartisan organizations have gone on the record for retaining the SALT deduction. These include: the National Governors Association, the United States Conference of Mayors, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Association of Counties, and the Council of State Governments.

In Internet age, elections officials try to keep pace with security threats
Albany Times Union
Other states have taken technological advances further, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In Illinois, an unclear — and familiar — situation for autonomous vehicle regulation
StateScoop
Twenty-one states have passed laws of varying scope to allow autonomous vehicles, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported in October, while governors in Arizona, Delaware, Massachusetts and Washington and Wisconsin have issued executive orders related to the technology.

The Latest Sign That Lawmakers From Across The US Are Eager To Legalize Sports Betting
Legal Sports Report
Sports betting will be the focus of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States when the group gathers in Miami this January.

Nov. 28

Release for imprisoned US sex-trafficking victim is celebrity cause
Reuters
Twenty states have passed laws making trafficked youth immune from crimes such as truancy and underage drinking, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

States push to ban bump stocks after federal effort fizzles
Washington Examiner
Seven states and the District of Columbia also have assault weapons bans, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Lt. Governor To Ban Guns In Washington State Senate Galleries
OPB News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Washington is among 23 states that allow guns in their capitol buildings. Ten of those states, including Washington, are open carry states where citizens are allowed to openly carry a firearm as long as it’s not concealed. The other 13 states allow permitted concealed pistol holders to enter capitol buildings armed. Louisiana, Kentucky and Missouri restrict guns in the capitol with an exemption for legislators.

Bill aims to outlaw credit card skimmers
Sharon Herald
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 31 states have laws in place to fight the use of the skimming devices.

Senate order bans all firearms from public gallery
The Daily Herald
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 10 states — including Washington — are “open carry” and allow guns in their statehouse buildings, 13 allow guns with a permit, and three permit only legislators to carry guns in the building.

Americans: Get Ready for a Serious Spotify Price Hike
Digital Music News
However, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 22 states have legislature addressing “taxing digital goods.”

Advocate tries new approach to developing child sexual abuse prevention curriculum
Education Dive
According to the National Council of State Legislatures, about half of the states have some type of legislation related developing curriculum to prevent child sexual abuse or increasing teachers’ abilities to recognize and report it. 

How California Is Leading the Way on Marijuana Criminal Justice Reform
Pacific Standard
In the last three years, at least nine states have passed laws addressing expungement of certain marijuana convictions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Which 2018 Michigan ballot issues are going strong. Or going down.
Bridge Michigan
Eight states and Washington, D.C., have approved similar measures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Nov. 27

States push to ban bump stocks after federal effort fizzles
Washington Examiner
In Minnesota, it is a felony to own, possess, or operate trigger activators, and in New York, it’s illegal to attach bump stocks to semi-automatic firearms. The New York state legislature, though, is considering a bipartisan bill to ban the devices outright, closing a loophole that permits the sale and possession of bump stocks. Seven states and the District of Columbia also have assault weapons bans, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

A Different Kind of Outsider
U.S. News & World Report
According to a 2015 survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures and Pew Charitable Trusts, most residents of statehouses are businesspeople (largely owners), lawyers and professional politicians.

Effort to change how Missouri elects local lawmakers faces challenges, experts say
STLtoday.com
“That’s a lot to put in one measure,” said Wendy Underhill, director for elections and redistricting at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Program gives tax breaks for TV commercials — and fuels debate
Newsday
Eleven other states including Pennsylvania have tax credits for television commercials, although their incentives are much higher than New York’s, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most of those states offer reimbursements of 20 percent to 35 percent of production costs.

State looks down the road at autonomous vehicles
Indianapolis Business Journal
Since then, 20 other states plus the District of Columbia have passed some sort of legislation pertaining to autonomous vehicles—most encouraging research and development, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

'We felt DCS failed the children': Foster parents push Indiana to pass a bill of rights
Indianapolis Star
Seventeen other states, including Illinois and Kentucky, already have passed a Foster Parent Bill of Rights, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

DiDomenico Receives Legislator of the Year Award
Charlestown Patriot Bridge
In 2015, Senator DiDomenico was selected as one of only 22 legislators throughout the United States to serve as an Early Learning Fellow by the National Conference of State Legislators.

State lawmakers my hire consultant for 'review' of workplace harassment
Vail Daily News
Colorado's legislature is fourth in the nation in terms of the percentage of women — 38 — that make up the General Assembly, according to the Denver-based bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.

Area Entrepreneurs Work Toward the Future of the Hemp Industry
Valley News
Vermont and New Hampshire are among the 33 states that currently allow for some form of legal hemp, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Is a plastic bag ban in Stamford's future?
The Advocate
Only 16 states have enacted bans and fees, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Cities want Virginia to tax streaming video, audio
Daily Press
According to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 22 states have language that allows taxing “digital goods” like audio-visual content and streaming video.

Free county college tuition: 5 reasons it could be coming to NJ
NJ.com
Tennessee, Oregon, and Minnesota all have versions of free county college tuition, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Nov. 22

Virginia election results face delay, possible recounts
Reuters
If Republicans win the seats, the state’s House would be split 51 to 49 between Republicans and Democrats, respectively, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Virginia’s House would have gained 15 Democrats overall, the data showed.
 
Sexual harassment troubles mount in statehouses around the country
USA TODAY
Women make up less than one-quarter of all state lawmakers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That puts many female lobbyists, staffers, interns and others at the professional and political mercy of mainly male lawmakers, who historically hold leadership posts and can quietly brush aside allegations of sexual improprieties.
 
Per diems help pay for lawmakers' real-estate deals
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
States across the country have different ways of reimbursing lawmakers for their expenses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some, like California and Georgia, provide a per-diem rate similar to New York. Others give a far smaller per diem, including Minnesota's $86 a day. And some offer no per diem at all.

Nov. 21

Sexual harassment troubles mount in statehouses around the country
USA TODAY
Women make up less than one-quarter of all state lawmakers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That puts many female lobbyists, staffers, interns and others at the professional and political mercy of mainly male lawmakers, who historically hold leadership posts and can quietly brush aside allegations of sexual improprieties.

Tennessee House lawmakers must attend in-person sexual harassment training, speaker says
The Tennessean
Ridley said the state had entered a one-year contract valued at $1,295 with ATS Media, a Chicago-based company, which was recommended by the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

A House's Flood History Can Be Hard To Find
NPR
WANG: Texas is one of at least 30 states that require almost all home sellers to tell buyers about any past flooding they know about, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Manor says that's important information because before he makes what will probably be the biggest purchase of his life, he wants to make sure he's making a good investment.

This Device Is The First Marketed To Treat Opioid Withdrawal, But Evidence It Works Is Lacking
Forbes
I was skeptical of such rapid decisions on the matter, so I consulted Richard Cauchi, program director for health: insurance, costs and pharmaceuticals, at the National Conference of State Legislatures. It's possible that small insurance companies in a few states might decide to cover the Bridge for some patients by Jan. 1, but it's "very unrealistic and unlikely" that any state legislature would mandate coverage that soon, if at all, Cauchi told me. "State legislatures and states in general have become very cautious and very calculating before they adopt any new mandates: What exactly will the cost be, and will this raise premiums generally?" 
 
Phil Murphy, Democrats call for $15 minimum wage in New Jersey
NorthJersey.com
Since 2010, many states and cities have mandated higher wages on their own. Twenty-nine states, including all of New Jersey's neighbors except Pennsylvania, currently require employers to pay more than $7.25. Nineteen states began 2017 with higher minimum wages, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Governor signs bill mandating free birth control
Gloucester Daily Times
Twenty-eight states — including California, Maryland and Vermont — require insurers to provide low- or no-cost coverage of FDA-approved contraceptives, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
At Colorado statehouse, the #MeToo movement is exposing a culture of harassment and weak protections for women
The Denver Post
The problems in Colorado do not appear mitigated by the high proportion of women in the legislature. The state is No. 4 in the nation with women constituting 38 percent of the General Assembly, according to the Denver-based bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Accountability a question in Nevada school-choice program
WTOP
The National Conference of State Legislatures and other groups say they’re only aware of three states — Louisiana, Indiana and Wisconsin — where private schools have been restricted or banned over standards and regulations.

Testing required at private schools in Nevada choice program
KLAS-TV
The National Conference of State Legislatures and other groups say they're only aware of three states -- Louisiana, Indiana and Wisconsin -- where private schools have been restricted or banned over standards and regulations.
 
NCSL May Revisit Stance Fighting State & Local Tax Deduction Repeal

Tax Foundation
One powerful voice on the topic may be considering a less hardline position. In August, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) unanimously adopted a resolution setting out the organization’s principles for federal tax reform, including a goal of “preserving the state and local income tax, sales tax and property tax deductions for federal income tax purposes.” A consequent bipartisan letter from NCSL executives to Congress urged them, among other issues, “to reject any tax reform legislation that modifies or eliminates the SALT deduction…” In September, NCSL signed onto a coalition to save the deduction.
 
State legislatures paying more attention to cybersecurity
Lehigh Valley Business
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in 2016, 28 states considered laws dealing with cybersecurity. Fifteen of them enacted legislation on security practices in government agencies, cyber and computer crimes and suspensions from the state Freedom of Information Act if information could put critical information or infrastructure in danger.

Nov. 17

Debate Continues as NH House Committee Opposes Marijuana Legalization
New Hampshire Public Radio
Marijuana is legal in eight states and the District of Columbia, and all were through the ballot box, by voter referendum, said Karmen Hanson, a policy director of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Hanson, at the NCSL, says Colorado, one of the states where recreational marijuana is legal, sees about 2 percent of its state revenues from pot.

Debate Continues Over Marijuana Legalization In New Hampshire
nhpr.org
A House committee this week recommended against a bill to legalize pot in the state - but advocates on both sides are continuing the debate. Speaking today

Will Al Franken Resign? What Happens if Minnesota Democrat Steps Down Over Groping Radio Host
Newsweek
If he were to resign within the next few months, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton would appoint someone to take his seat. The appointed senator would serve until the next scheduled election, at which time there would be a special election to choose a successor, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Minnesota's next statewide contest takes place in November 2018.

It's been called 'humanity's dumbest ritual.' Should SC stop doing it?
The State
This year, lawmakers in 18 states – from California and Colorado to Maine and Mississippi – considered proposals rolling back, extending or otherwise changing daylight saving time. That was up from the 13 states that considered such changes in 2016, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

House OKs Tax Bill: Focus Shifts to Senate Where Tax-Reform Battles Continue
DTN The Progressive Farmer
The National Conference of State Legislatures sent both houses of Congress a letter urging that the tax bill neither modify nor eliminate the deduction for state and local taxes, known as SALT. Under the House bill, farmers could still deduct property taxes as a business expense, but the deduction for home property taxes and state income taxes would be limited to $11,000.

Inside a Pa. prison, a parenting movement grows
WHYY
Both the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Caucus of Black State Legislators have adopted resolutions honoring the success of the FACT program and encouraging the proliferation of the program.

Administration's Drone Pilot Program to Spur Innovative Drone Use
Lexology
State and local governments have been actively legislating drone operations. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 38 states considered drone legislation in 2017.1 Bard College’s Center for the Study of the Drone reported in March 2017 that 133 localities in 31 states had enacted drone laws.2 The Pilot Program’s call for state, local, and tribal involvement recognizes and validates that nonfederal jurisdictions have a role to play in drone regulation.

Nov. 16

Got a will? Here are 11 more end-of-life documents you may need
CNBC
Specify in your will who you want to own or have access to your digital assets and accounts like social media and email. According to the National Conference of State Legislators, at least 42 states have enacted laws addressing that issue.
  
Republican Governors Seek to Avoid 2018 Damage From Trump, Moore
Bloomberg
Even with the challenges ahead, Republicans start from a position of strength, at least at the state level. Besides their dominance of governorships, they also control roughly two-thirds of state House and Senate chambers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

CNN slammed for listing 26 Texas shooting victims as ‘25 and unborn child’
Washington Times
The Texas Department of Public Safety has named “26 victims, including an unborn child,” in its official count. Texas and 22 other states have fetal homicide laws that apply to the earliest stages of gestation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

 

NH Mulls Over Marijuana Legalization
New Hampshire Public Radio
9 am ET Thursday interview with Karmen Hanson - Health Program manager at the National Conference of State Legislatures, where she covers marijuana policy.

What Virginia Taught Democrats About Winning Back the States
New Republic
After neglecting the states under President Barack Obama, the party controls just 31 of the nation’s 99 legislative bodies, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

 

Nov. 15

Controversial license-plate scanners to go up in Cleveland, 18 suburbs
cleveland.com
At least 14 states have statutes relating to the use of automated license plate readers or the retention of data, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Ohio is not among them. "The data collected can enhance law enforcement's ability to investigate and enforce the law, but also raise concerns that the information collected may be inaccurate, placed into databases and shared without restrictions on use, retained longer than necessary, and used or abused in ways that could infringe on individuals' privacy," the conference of state legislatures said.
 
City encourages people to shop local for holidays
1011now
According to a study by the National Conference of State Legislatures, Nebraska lost an estimated $118 million dollars from uncollected taxes in 2012. This is because online-only retailers aren't required to pay local taxes.

Nov. 14

WV should consider independent commission for redistricting, advocates say
Charleston Gazette-Mail
Wendy Underhill, program director for elections and redistricting for the National Conference of State Legislatures, told the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary that seven states currently use independent commissions for Congressional redistricting, and 13 states use that process for legislative redistricting.

On Paper, Albuquerque Ballots Likely Less "Hackable"
Public News Service
Wendy Underhill, director of the National Conference of State Legislatures, says New Mexico is ahead of the game when it comes to protecting the fairness of elections. "One more thing that New Mexico has done - it's explicitly permitted academic and international observers to come and that's a form of transparency you might say," she says.

Connecticut, other states scaling back government broadcasts
Houston Chronicle
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are live webcasts or television broadcasts of legislative proceedings available from at least one chamber in all 50 states. While many provide webcasts of committee hearings, at least 30 states and the Washington, D.C. broadcast some proceedings on television.

Lawmakers weigh proposals to raise the age for juvenile courts
Eagle-Tribune
Forty states and the federal government have set the age of adult criminal jurisdiction at age 18, same as the minimum age for voting and jury duty, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Eight states set the bar at age 16. In North Carolina, it’s 15. While some states are considering it, none have raised the age to 19 or above.

One-party rule rises across America — with mixed results
The Register-Guard
Just five states — Alaska, Colorado, Maine, New York and potentially Virginia, depending on the outcome of several too-close-to-call House races — could have functional control of their legislative chambers split among the two major parties. That’s slightly less than the historic norm, according to an AP analysis of data dating to 1900 provided by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Nov. 13

Campus carry law to be discussed at Missouri State forum
Springfield News-Leader
Missouri is one of 16 states that ban concealed weapons on campus, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
When will pot be legal to buy in NJ? Here's the timeline.
NJ.com
But Karmen Hanson, program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures, a research organization for state lawmakers, said it could take as little as nine months -- or up to two years -- depending on how it's crafted.
 
Amid growing threats, Iowa lawmakers push for better state and local cybersecurity
DesMoinesRegister.com
Other states are also taking cyberattacks matters more seriously. The National Conference of State Legislatures has established a cybersecurity task force to share best practices and to develop guidelines to implement cybersecurity initiatives. "Sensitive information is increasingly stored online, allowing greater access to anything from bank accounts and medical records, to water and energy systems, and even law enforcement files," according to an NCSL task force statement. "Crime has also moved online, presenting significant human and economic costs of data breach and cyber-attack incidents and highlighting the essential need to strengthen the security and resilience of state networks and cyber policies.
 
Chorus of sexual harassment allegations spreads among US statehouses
Reuters
About 37 state legislatures in 2016 had formal policies for legislative employees on sexual harassment, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But experts said they varied in effectiveness and enforcement.
 
Wisconsin Assembly voting on limiting police bodycam access
Beloit Daily News
Thirty other states have laws related to police body cameras. Of those, 18 address how data captured on the cameras are handled under open records laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Connecticut, other states scaling back government broadcasts
Middletown Press
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are live webcasts or television broadcasts of legislative proceedings available from at least one chamber in all 50 states. While many provide webcasts of committee hearings, at least 30 states and the Washington, D.C. broadcast some proceedings on television.
 
Partisan divide grows in US states, with mixed results
Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Just five states — Alaska, Colorado, Maine, New York and potentially Virginia, depending on the outcome of several too-close-to-call House races — could have functional control of their legislative chambers split among the two major parties. That’s slightly less than the historic norm, according to an AP analysis of data dating to 1900 provided by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
The Ohio Statehouse needs more female lawmakers: Thomas Suddes
cleveland.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about 24.9 percent of the members of the nation's 50 state legislatures are women. Of the Ohio General Assembly's 132 members, about 22 percent are women.
 
Calley shifts from ballot drive to prep for Michigan governor run
Michigan Radio
Michigan is among 10 states with a full-time legislature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Sixteen states have a part-time legislature, and 24 are "hybrids" — with lawmakers who typically say they spend more than two-thirds of a full-time job being lawmakers. 

Fayetteville House district draws primary contest
NWAOnline
There are 18 women in the 100-member House and seven in the 35-member Senate. In all, women make up 18.5 percent of the state Legislature. The national average is 24.9 percent, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Thirty-nine of the 50 states have a higher percentage of women legislators than Arkansas, conference figures show.

Nov. 9

In defeating 'chief homophobe,' transgender woman elected to Virginia legislature makes history
Los Angeles Times
Although Roem made history as the first openly transgender person to be elected, she will not be the first to serve in a state legislature. Althea Garrison served in the Massachusetts Legislature from 1993 until 1995, though it was not publicly known that she was transgender until after she took office, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

When Does Life Begin? Pregnant Woman's Unborn Child Counted Among 26 Killed in Texas ...
Newsweek
Texas enacted the law in 2003 — almost immediately, it raised arguments that naming an unborn child as a victim created a "slippery slope" that might jeopardize a woman's ability to choose an abortion, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. People asked to define what a crime entails — is it smoking or drinking while pregnant, or an attack from a third-party? Those concerns were raised in a 2015 Indiana case when Purvi Patel became the first woman convicted of feticide after an alleged self-induced abortion.

Georgia named one of the fattest states in America for 2017
Atlanta Journal Constitution
The personal finance site determined its results by pulling data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Committee Recommends Big Pay Raises For Georgia Lawmakers And Officials
WABE 90.1 FM
A few big states have full-time legislatures with higher pay. California pays lawmakers $100,113 a year, and Pennsylvania pays $85,339, but 30 states pay $30,000 a year or less, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.

How Will Driverless Cars Shape Our Economy?
Inside Indiana Business
Since then, 20 other states have passed legislation related to the self-driving vehicles, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Nebraska lawmaker speaks out on volunteer ballot collectors
NTV
A National Conference of State Legislatures report said at least 14 states have statutory limits on the collection and delivery of absentee or mail-in ballots by someone other than the voter.

Headlines & History since 1879
Goldendale Sentinel
Rep. Gina McCabe, R-Goldendale, has been selected to participate in the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) Emerging Leaders Symposium Nov. 8-10 in San Jose, California.

Nov. 8

Can You Take Pictures While Voting? Your Election Day Ballot Selfie Might Be Illegal
Newsweek
At least 15 states have weighed bills this year addressing the issue, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Nebraska Lawmaker Speaks Out on Volunteer Ballot Collectors
U.S. News & World Report
A National Conference of State Legislatures report said at least 14 states have statutory limits on the collection and delivery of absentee or mail-in ballots by someone other than the voter.

CASEY: DMV launches design contest for a new distracted-driving tag
Roanoke Times
According the National Conference of State Legislators, 15 states plus the District of Columbia have such prohibitions in place. So do Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

AG asks Supreme Court to let states tax internet sales
New Mexico Political Report
A National Conference of State Legislatures analysis from 2012 found states lost out on $23.3 billion in revenue from sales taxes from either online or catalog purchases.

Report: Many 2016 voting sites lacked full disability access
The Spokesman-Review
“With the increase in early voting, this research is timely. Are our guidelines and regulations and practices keeping up with the changing patterns of voting in America?” asked Wendy Underhill, elections program director for the National Council of State Legislatures.

Missouri's 2004 road measure doesn't cover full debt service on bonds
Herald-Whig
Missouri is one of 26 states that use road funds to help finance their highway patrols, according the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Untaxed internet sales a threat
The Daily Nonpareil
Five years ago, the National Council of State Legislatures estimated that Iowa lost more than $180 million in sales and use tax revenue in 2012 to Internet sales.

Nov. 7

Could donated, unused drugs help cash-strapped seniors? A DC council member thinks so.
Washington Post
Maryland, Virginia and approximately 36 other states have enacted laws to establish drug donation programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. However, nearly half of those states’ programs are not operational, and many that are up and running remain small, according to a March report by the group.

Missouri Funds From 2004 Road Measure Don't Pay Debt Service
U.S. News & World Report
Missouri is one of 26 states that use road funds to help finance their highway patrols, according the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Colorado's opioid epidemic explained in 10 graphics
The Denver Post
The National Conference of State Legislatures, a Denver-based bipartisan organization, mapped how each state approached the issue of prescription limits through September.

Millard levy override: No law against 3rd-party ballot collection, but senator has 'no doubt' there will be legislation introduced to address it
Omaha World-Herald
At least 14 states have express statutory limits on the collection and delivery of absentee or mail-in ballots by someone other than the voter, according to a 2016 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Voting access is under attack as the countdown to Election Day 2018 begins
Kansas City Star
In all, 34 states request or require voters to show identification at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Lawmaker proposes ending daylight savings time in New York
Albany Times Union
Thirteen states considered 22 bills or resolutions related to daylight saving time in 2016, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Lawmakers 'can't police themselves': How statehouses are confronting sexual harassment
Sacramento Bee
California lawmakers can hire outside attorneys to investigate sexual harassment claims, but the first reports run through committees that are controlled by Assembly and Senate leaders. That’s a common practice among state legislatures where lawmakers retain power to censure themselves, according to the National Council of State Legislatures.

Draheim to propose legislative term limits in 2018
Southernminn.com
Several studies done in the mid-2000s from the National Conference of State Legislatures have shown mixed benefits for states with legislative term limits.

Editorials from across South Carolina: open primaries, Greenville sheriff, GOP Caucus secrecy
The Slate
Only 19 states and the District of Columbia allow recall elections and South Carolina is not among them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The end of Alaska’s ‘citizen legislature’
Must Read Alaska
According to National Conference of State Legislatures survey data, this is not an uncommon arrangement as over half of state legislatures in the country currently approve similar per diem payments.

Nov. 6

With Washington statehouse at stake, Democrats seek to build a West Coast wall of Trump resistance
Los Angeles Times
Under President Obama, Democrats lost more than 1,000 legislative seats nationwide, leaving the party at its lowest standing in statehouses since 1920, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Does Changing The Clock Mess With Your Health? 
Forbes
This year, 18 states considered 39 bills and resolutions about establishing either daylight saving time (DST) or standard time year round, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

How a registered sex offender wound up living in an Airbnb hosting unsuspecting guests 
Business Insider
Most states have rules that allow some convicted offenders to be excluded from the public database, says Amber Widgery, Senior Policy Specialist for the Criminal Justice Program at the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Amazon pulled into another sales-tax fight as states go after third-party sellers on its marketplace 
Seattle Times
“If Washington state is successful, I can all but guarantee you other states are going to copy provisions of it to level the playing field,” said Max Behlke, director of budget and tax policy at the National Conference of State Legislatures.  

State troopers explore public shaming of drunken drivers. But does it go too far?
Sacramento Bee
Ohio requires drivers with a second DUI conviction or who are found driving with a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit to use yellow license plates with red letters in a program adopted in 1967, reports the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Here's how Colorado is combating the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic
The Denver Post
At least 17 states set the limit at seven days or less, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization based in Denver. 

Proposal would eliminate 6-month waiting period for remarriage after a divorce
Wisconsin State Journal
Wisconsin is among six states that have a remarriage waiting period, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Editorial: Greenville County taxpayers appear to be stuck with the sheriff, for now 
Greenville News
Only 19 states and the District of Columbia allow recall elections and South Carolina is not among them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

Draheim to propose legislative term limits in 2018 
Mankato Free Press
Several studies done in the mid-2000s from the National Conference of State Legislatures have shown mixed benefits for states with legislative term limits.

Trump's complicated past with the death penalty and due process 
KITV Honolulu
Capital punishment is legal in 31 states and the federal government, according to the National Conference for State Legislatures

The DNC is Broken
New Republic
As asserted by the National Conference of State Legislators, 22 presidents first served in state legislatures—so did 22 sitting senators and 220 current members of the House.

Voting access is under attack as Election Day nears 
Herald Net
In all, 34 states request or require voters to show identification at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Republican tax plan a blow to Democratic states, officials say
Investing.com
National Conference of State Legislatures President and Republican South Dakota state senator Deb Peters in a statement called the legislation "an attack on the sovereignty of states." 

Nov. 3

Republican Tax Plan a Blow to Democratic States, Officials Say
Reuters/U.S. News & World Report
National Conference of State Legislatures President and Republican South Dakota state senator Deb Peters in a statement called the legislation "an attack on the sovereignty of states."

Slowik: Heated Homer Glen Facebook posts show challenges of mixing politics and social media
Chicago Tribune
Similarly, the National Conference on State Legislatures warns that interaction between elected officials and constituents on social media "opens (the) door to First Amendment disputes."

After last scandal, legislature changed harassment policy. It left out political staff
Lexington Herald Leader
The National Conference of State Legislatures recommends that legislatures have an “effective preventive program” that “should include an explicit policy against sexual harassment that is clearly and regularly communicated to employees and effectively implemented.”

Report: Many 2016 voting sites lacked full disability access
St. Louis Dispatch
"With the increase in early voting, this research is timely. Are our guidelines and regulations and practices keeping up with the changing patterns of voting in America?" asked Wendy Underhill, elections program director for the National Council of State Legislatures.

Martineau: Timing of local elections: There is a better way
Sarasota Herald – Tribune
A 2016 study by the National Conference of State Legislatures shows that in recent years 11 states have moved local elections to the November of odd years and more are considering doing so (and five states already hold them concurrent with other federal and state elections).

Time to relax professional job licensing burden
Mesquite Local News
The meeting is being coordinated by the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Governors’ Association and the Council of State Governments.

State: More than 100 docs agree to help patients get medical marijuana
Meadville Tribune
Pennsylvania is one of 29 states that will allow patients to legally use medical marijuana, according to the National Council of State Legislatures.

Birth control mandate would raise insurance costs
Eagle – Tribune
Twenty-eight states -- including California, Maryland and Vermont -- require insurers to provide low- or no-cost coverage of FDA-approved contraceptives, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Rauner invests in candidacy
Northern Star Online
A property tax freeze will help prevent long-time homeowners from being priced out of their home as their neighborhoods develop, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.

Guns to be allowed at new Tennessee legislative complex
WTVC
Twenty-six states ban civilian guns from being carried at their capitols, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Does Alabama have more people on welfare than are employed?
AL.com
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) assisted 516,000 Alabamians in 2015, according to a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures, but the credit is for low-to-moderate working individuals and couples, so again it would be unfair to count these people as they are actually working.

Controversial police body camera bill would restrict access to footage in Wisconsin
StateScoop
According to the National Conference of State Legislators, 23 states and the District of Columbia currently have laws addressing body camera footage as it pertains to open record requests, with varying degrees of restriction.

Nov. 2

Guns to Be Allowed at New Tennessee Legislative Complex
U.S. News & World Report
Twenty-six states ban civilian guns from being carried at their capitols, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A hodgepodge of laws address who can be armed at the remaining state capitols around the country. A handful have no restrictions, while others limit the practice to permit holders and lawmakers.

States Race to Secure Their Voting Systems Before Hackers Strike Again
FRONTLINE
“Efforts to share cybersecurity best practices of all kinds are absolutely lighting up the elections world right now,” said Wendy Underhill, director of elections and redistricting at the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks the issue among states. “Election officials across the nation are doubling down on it, learning from each other, and talking more closely with their IT people and other resources.”

Birth control mandate would raise insurance costs
Gloucester Daily Times
Twenty-eight states – including California, Maryland and Vermont – require insurers to provide low- or no-cost coverage of FDA-approved contraceptives, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Working towards relief
Rental Management Magazine
In January of 2016, The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) — Executive Committee Task Force on State and Local Taxation — noted that “taxes on business personal property do not align with common principles of taxation such as neutrality, efficiency, transparency, benefit or ability-to-pay.
 
Committee passes bill limiting access to police body cams
Greater Milwaukee Today
Of those, 18 address how data captured on the cameras are handled under open records laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Nov. 1

New Mexico 'ahead of the game' on paper ballots
Santa Fe New Mexican
So, as voting equipment around the country ages and worries continue to mount about the security of America’s elections, New Mexico has ended up ahead of the curve. “New Mexico was ahead of the game on this,” said Wendy Underhill of the National Conference of State Legislatures. But, she said, computers still support many other parts of the voting process, from voter registration to issuing mail ballots and transmitting the results on election night.

SD elections board supports blocking electronic voting system
KEVN Black Hills Fox
The National Conference of State Legislatures says direct recording electronic voting machines record votes and vote totals directly into computer memory, but don't use paper ballots.

Committee passes bill limiting access to police body cams
La Crosse Tribune
Of those, 18 address how data captured on the cameras are handled under open records laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Highlights of Pennsylvania’s casino gambling expansion law
Carlisle Sentinel
The lottery is prohibited from operating casino-style games online, such as poker, roulette, slot machines and blackjack. Four states — Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky and Michigan — allow online lottery play, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Lawmaker says she'll keep pressing to raise Illinois' minimum wage
SaukValley.com
The National Conference of State Legislatures listed 22 states and the District of Columbia that started the year with a higher minimum wage than Illinois.

Will Autonomous Vehicles Be Able to Break the Speed Limit?
HowStuffWorks
According to a 2017 report on speed limits by the National Conference of State Legislatures, government traffic planners envision a future in which AVs most likely will be programmed to not exceed the posted speed limit in an area.
 
Even in a 'Sanctuary State,' Immigrants Are Still in Danger
VICE
Other states have moved in the opposite direction: Texas, where Hernandez lives, as well as Mississippi, Indiana, and Georgia have all passed laws this year that punish jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.