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NCSL in the News October 2012

NCSL in the News Archives

NCSL in the News: October 2012

Oct. 31

Legislature's health plans could save $5.5 million this year
The Pennsylvania Senate anticipates saving a little more than $2.5 million this fiscal year under its new health benefit plans, while the House anticipates $3 million in savings. Only 5 percent of active state employees in the U.S. were enrolled in indemnity plans as of 2009, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. NBC News

(Opinion) Hunters' election: States put gun rights to the test on Nov. 6
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, an additional seven states considered but failed to pass bills to amend their constitutions for hunters and fishermen in 2012. The Washington Times

South Carolina election officials seek to dispel voting myths
State and county election officials are seeking to dispel a host of myths before voters head to the polls Tuesday in South Carolina. South Carolina is one of 13 states that will offer a straight-party voting option in next week’s election, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Anderson Independent Mail

Oct. 30

ObamaCare mandate big on state ballots that also include gay marriage, marijuana
Voters in 38 states will consider 174 ballot measures, including 12 referendums, on Nov. 6,according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Fox News

Term limits to be on ballot
Nebraska is one of 15 states that limit the terms of state lawmakers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Norfolk Daily News

California making it easier to vote; other states tighten rules
But Jennie Bowser with the National Conference of State Legislatures, says California isn't unique in making it easier to vote. Capitol Public Radio

Hurricane Sandy forces poll closures
And the National Conference of State Legislatures has a map of early voting and absentee voting options by state. ABC News

ESA raises $800K for charity at 'Nite to Unite' event
National Conference of State Legislatures, which will develop and implement interactive games to teach students about lawmaking and democracy. Joy Stiq

Peggy June Adams Shreve
She was the Vice Chair and Chair of the Arts, Tourism and Cultural Heritage Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures AOL, Delegate to the National Republican 1980 Convention, Chair of the Five State Conference (North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming) 1992-93, Majority Whip 1992-94, Speaker Pro Tem for 1995-98, member of Rules and Procedure Committee and Management Council and Co-Chair of School Finance Committee. Cody Enterprise

Amazon agrees to collect sales tax from Arizona customers
But the National Conference of State Legislatures estimated earlier this year that states lost an estimated $23 billion this year from out-of-state sales, with half of that attributed to purchases made on the World Wide Web. Capitol Media Services in West Valley

In marriage amendment fight, both sides predict victory
How states view gay marriage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Pioneer Press

Arguments set in challenge to welfare drug testing law
The National Conference of State Legislatures says Florida was the first state to enact such a law since Michigan tried more than a decade ago. Michigan's random drug testing program for welfare recipients lasted five weeks in 1999 before it was halted by a judge, kicking off a four-year legal battle that ended with an appeals court ruling it unconstitutional. Waynesville Daily Guide

Oct. 29

What will Hurricane Sandy do to early voting?
This is what the early- and absentee-voting map should look like, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Hurricane Sandy is already messing with the map. The Atlantic

23 ballot measures to keep an eye on
On November 6, Americans will vote on at least 174 ballot measures in 38 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, weighing in on everything from legalizing marijuana to abolishing the death penalty. Mother Jones

Getting an early jump on voting
The District and 32 states allow voters to cast a ballot in person, for any reason, during a designated period before Election Day, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Washington Times

Legislature's health plans could save $5.5 million this year
Only 5 percent of active state employees in the U.S. were enrolled in indemnity plans as of 2009, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Philly Burbs and MSNBC

Massachusetts lags in electing women to office — few clear answers why
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, women now hold 23.7 percent of the 7,382 state legislative seats nationwide. The percentage of women currently in the Massachusetts Legislature, 24.5 percent, is slightly above the national figure. Telegram

Rhode Island official resigns over ballot request by child killer
Vermont and Maine do not restrict felons' voting rights even while they are in prison, while Florida, Iowa, Kentucky and Virginia permanently strip them of the right unless they get a governor's pardon, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters in the Chicago Tribune

Nebraska voters consider four ballot measures
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 13 states already have similar protections. Seven other states considered similar legislation this year but failed to pass anything. Star Herald

State senator tapped for vice chairmanship
A state lawmaker from Forsyth County has been appointed to serve as a vice chairman of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Law and Criminal Justice Committee. Forsyth News

N.H. House, Cheshire District 3
24 years in the N.H. House over the last 36 years; chairman of the National Conference on State Legislatures Committee on Communications, Finance and Interstate Commerce. Sentinel Source

Can nurse practitioners do more?
Cassidy cites figures from the National Conference of State Legislatures indicating that state lawmakers had introduced 245 scope-of-practice bills as of February. Life Health Pro

Oct. 26

Tennessee court allows state voter ID law
Four states will have strict photo ID requirements this year: Georgia, Indiana, Kansas and Tennessee. In these states, voters must show a valid photo ID before casting a ballot. Without one, they may cast a provisional ballot but must return within a specified period of time after the election with a valid ID in order for their ballot to be counted, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Wall Street Journal

Two years later, questions remain on Maryland's early voting
"It’s become increasingly popular with citizens," said Wendy Underhill, a senior policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures who has studied early voting nationally. "When voters use it, they don’t want to give it up. We haven’t seen any states undo early voting." Maryland Community News

Mo. to vote, again, on part of Obama health law
Missouri is the only state to put a specific question about health insurance exchanges to a statewide vote, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/Southeast Missourian

Nebraska voters consider four ballot measures
Nebraska is one of four states — along with Idaho, Kentucky, and Wyoming — to consider creating a constitutional right to hunt and fish this November. The National Conference of State Legislatures says 13 states already have similar protections. Seven other states considered similar legislation this year but failed to pass anything. AP/The Star Herald

Political Watch — Gay Rights
Different states have widely differing statutes concerning same-sex marriage and same-sex couples, demonstrated in the following information from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Currently, 39 states ban same-sex marriage, South Carolina among them. Five states allow civil unions between same-sex couples — Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey and Rhode Island. The Tiger News

Oct. 25

Election will all be over in 12 more days, or will it?
Colorado requires a recount if the margin is “less than or equal to 0.5%” of the highest vote-getter's total, according to information from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Florida’s recount process kicks in with a gap of 0.5% of the total votes cast in the contest. Ohio’s recount margin is 0.25% of the total votes cast. The Los Angeles Times

Campaign 2012/East: In 55th District, longevity may be factor in race
Elected to the House of Representatives in 1994, Mr. Petrarca is chairman of the House Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee and was appointed to serve on the National Conference of State Legislatures' Transportation Committee. The Pittsburg Post-Gazette

Udall meets with Onate athletes and coaches to discuss head injuries
While the faint cheers of a junior varsity football game and a girl's volleyball game could be heard in other areas at OƱate High School, students, their parents and coaches gathered in the school's library Thursday to have a frank and serious discussion about concussions and traumatic brain injuries with Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M. National Conference of State Legislatures webpage on Traumatic Brain Injuries Legislation. The Las Cruces Sun-News

Republican governor in Nevada pledges 'full support' to Reid's online poker bill
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) said the online poker bill is not needed because states are capable of regulating online gaming. "State authority and consumer protection with respect to online gaming are not mutually exclusive. With gaming, states have long demonstrated that they are capable of protecting consumers. This bill is aiming to fix a problem that simply doesn't exist," said James Ward, a committee director for the NCSL. The Hill

Gay marriage ballots likely to increase turnout in four states
"Having a measure on the ballot increases turnout by a few points because it gets people more engaged in the issues and gets them to come out and vote," Jennie Drage Bowser, who analyzes ballot measures at the National Conference of State Legislatures," told Agence France Presse. "What’s not clear is that a conservative measure could get more conservative voters out or a liberal measure could get more liberal voters out. But that doesn’t stop people from trying." Newsmax

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

Oct. 24

State budgets in jeopardy as nation nears 'fiscal cliff'
That uncertainty is being felt in state capitals nationwide, according to Jeff Hurley, a senior policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “States are closely linked to what the federal government does,” he said. “There’s a severe correlation between the two that gets left unnoticed.” NBC News

From pot to gay marriage, US voters have lots to decide
“Having a measure on the ballot increases turnout by a few points because it gets people more engaged in the issues and gets them to come out and vote,” said Jennie Drage Bowser, who analyzes ballot measures at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “What’s not clear is that a conservative measure could get more conservative voters out or a liberal measure could get more liberal voters out. But that doesn’t stop people from trying,” she added. The Daily Tribune

23 ballot measures to keep an eye on
On November 6, Americans will vote on at least 172 ballot measures in 37 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, weighing in on everything from legalizing marijuana to abolishing the death penalty. Mother Jones

Arizona-style health care opposition amendment seen to have little practical effect
Richard Cauchi, a health care analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said five states have similar measures on the ballot in November. But they’re latecomers to the game. According to an NCSL analysis, 20 states have already passed some sort measure against the Affordable Care Act. NCSL hasn’t taken a position on those state measures, Cauchi said. He said it wasn’t clear what effect those measures would have in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling. “It’s difficult to tell,” he said. The Anniston Star

Nebraska voters consider four ballot measures
Nebraskans will decide whether to enshrine hunting and fishing in the state constitution, let lawmakers serve longer and earn more money, and whether to make it a little easier to impeach officials. The National Conference of State Legislatures says 13 states already have similar protections. Seven other states considered similar legislation this year but failed to pass anything. The Kearney Hub

Not all universities oppose concealed carry
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures website, Ohio is one of 21 states that bans carrying a concealed weapon on any college campus. The Lantern

Lou Cannon: Redistricting gives GOP key edge in many state elections
For the most part, according to political analyst Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures, Republicans opted to protect GOP seats that might have become vulnerable in a Democratic year rather than reaching a bridge too far to add new seats. “The first debate (between President Barack Obama and Romney) changed the dynamic of the presidential race and may have been helpful to Republicans in legislative races,” Storey said. State Net Capitol Journal

Oct. 23

Schools face test from voters
Arizona, Missouri and South Dakota have tax-increase measures on ballots, while California is offering voters dueling proposals. Oregon has an initiative to redirect to schools some money that corporations receive as tax rebates. That is the largest number of education-tax initiatives to appear on state election ballots in two decades, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Wall Street Journal

Nebraska voters consider 4 ballot measures
Nebraska is 1 of 4 states considering creating a constitutional right to hunt and fish this November. The National Conference of State Legislatures says 13 states have similar protections. AP/ABC Sioux City

Schools at stake across U.S. in most education tax ballot measures in 20 years
That is the largest number of education-tax initiatives to appear on state election ballots in two decades, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Southern California Public Radio

Sen. Wyss named 'Legislator of the Year' by aviation interest group
Wyss currently serves as chairperson of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, Transportation and Veterans Affairs as well as the Joint Study Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Assessment and Solutions. He also previously served as vice-chairperson of the National Conference of State Legislatures' Transportation Committee. Indiana's News Center

Oct. 22

California legislative staffers moonlight in campaign jobs
Natalie Wood, a senior policy specialist at the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures' Center for Ethics in Government, said the overlap could become more common as statehouse leaders hire more of what she calls "partisan" staff, positions often affiliated with leadership or Democratic and Republican caucuses. That trend, she said, makes rules governing legislative staff and campaign work all the more important. "I think it contributes to the overall highly charged partisan atmosphere that's out there anyway," she said. "It just adds another layer onto the dynamics that work in the state Capitol." The Sacramento Bee

Oregon legislative races: Which party will take control of the House?
"From all that I hear, both Oregon chambers are toss-ups," Tim Storey, election analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures, wrote in an email. Some in Salem have started to talk about the possibility of a 30-30 House, a 15-15 Senate, or both. The odds are long; but not impossible. "If they both wind up tied," Storey said, "I am fairly certain that would be a first in U.S. history." The Oregonian

Online voter registration helps bulk up voter rolls
Online registration is also very secure. Details on forms are automatically cross-referenced with motor vehicle or tax records, minimizing the risk of fraud, says Jennie Bowser, senior fellow at the non-profit National Conference of State Legislatures. "Online helps to avoid all those potential human pitfalls," Bowser says. Sci-Tech Today

Opinion: Countering the attack on voter ID laws
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) lists 33 states with voter identification (ID) laws as well as those state legislatures that are strengthening their voter ID laws. Newsmax

Students stray from voting, dislike process
In many states, some have already voted through absentee ballots. These ballots are offered in all 50 states, including the District of Columbia, but 21 states require an excuse for filing an absentee ballot, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures website. The Daily Orange

Rep. Eric Watson graduates in first TBI State Academy class
Because of Watson’s law enforcement background, he was recently appointed to co-chair the National Conference of State Legislatures Law and Criminal Justice Standing Committee. NCSL is a lobbying force representing cities, counties and states interests before Congress, the White House, and federal agencies. The Cleveland Daily Banner

Indiana ID process not always easy
There are now four states with strict laws like Indiana's; five more states have passed such laws that have not yet gone into effect, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Tribune-Star

Candidates ponder debate, campaign finance reform
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 24 states currently offer some form of public financing. The Williamsport Sun-Gazette

Oct. 19

The voter-ID election
The National Conference of State Legislatures has summarized voter-ID legislation. The Reuters/Ipsos poll has asked about possession of ID and revealed characteristics of voters without ID. The Wall Street Journal

Ballot propositions reflect the nation's mood
Meanwhile, in “a symptom of the polarization in American politics,” 12 popular referendums qualified for the November ballot, noted Jennie Drage Bowser of the National Conference of State Legislatures to Governing magazine. Inside Tucson Business

Lots of incentives
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 27 states, plus the District of Columbia, allow voters to cast an absentee ballot without requiring a reason. The Detroit Free Press

The independent rundown
A trend toward legislators retiring from office and redistricting will combine in 2012 to result in legislatures with an inordinately high number of inexperienced members. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, we’ll see the highest two-cycle rate of turnover this year that we’ve seen in two decades. That’s a lot of fresh faces. The Daily Beast

On youth sexting, Pa. and other states act to prosecute, not persecute
Since 2009, at least 19 states, including New Jersey, have enacted bills to address youth sexting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. This year, 13 states introduced or are considering sexting laws. The Philadelphia Inquirer

Opinion: Take the Senate away from voters
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, women hold 23.7 percent of all state legislative seats, versus 17 percent of the current U.S. Senate. About 8 percent of state legislators are black. In the U.S. Senate? Zero. Bloomberg

Oct. 18

States brace for huge legislative turnover
Karl Kurtz of the National Conference of State Legislatures says that when the winners of next month's elections are sworn in, likely close to half of state legislators will have two years of tenure or less—the highest rate of turnover over two election cycles in 50 years. Stateline

More and more Michigan voters skip the polls in favor of absentee ballots
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 27 states, plus the District of Columbia, allow voters to cast an absentee ballot without requiring a reason. The Detroit Free Press

Opponents concerned large war chest may give edge to same-sex marriage supporters in state battles
Today, 38 states have laws or constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. NBC News

Massive statehouse turnover predicted
The confluence of two political forces — once-in-decade redistricting and term limits — all but guarantee an exceptionally high level of turnover this year in state legislatures. Karl Kurtz of the National Conference of State Legislatures says that when the winners of next month’s elections are sworn in, likely close to half of state legislators will have two years of tenure or less — the highest rate of turnover over two election cycles in 50 years. Politico

2 Chainz and felons' ability to vote
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in 39 states and the District of Columbia, most ex-felons automatically gain the right to vote upon completion of their sentences. Maine and Vermont allow those in jail to vote. ABC News/Yahoo! News

Oct. 17

Amid drilling boom, U.S. states rush to update laws
The number of new laws passed on fossil fuels has soared from 66 bills in 22 states last year, and 55 bills in 27 states in 2010, according to the online bill-tracking database run by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Reuters/NBC News

Absentee voting becoming more popular
Massachusetts is just one of 15 states that does not allow in-person early voting and requires an excuse for absentee voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Abington Mariner

Photo ID required as early voting begins in Tenn.
Seventeen states require a photo ID to be presented at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). “Some of these are ‘strict’ voter ID laws, in that voters who fail to show photo ID are given a provisional ballot and must eventually show photo ID in order to get that provisional ballot counted,” the NCSL said. “Others are ‘non-strict,’ and voters without ID have other options for casting a regular ballot. They may be permitted to sign an affidavit of identity, or poll workers may be able to vouch for them if they know them personally.” Kingsport Times-News

What we don't know about the voter ID amendment
Of the 33 states that have some kind of voter ID law, the National Conference of State Legislatures says only nine have the kind of strict requirement proposed in Minnesota. Minnesota Public Radio

Oct. 16

Legislator Says PAC's ads on Democrats' tax policy is off base
Max Behlke, a policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said that around the country states will fail to collect $23 billion in taxes owed from e-commerce or remote sales. In Vermont, the uncollected tax will be around $44 million this year. Behlke, testifying by speaker phone, said the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that states cannot force out of state retailers to collect the tax. So, he said, the solution has to come from federal legislation. "The bottom line is that states will never be able to collect the taxes that are currently owed without federal action," he says. "That's either overturning the court decision or through congressional action." NPR

New Jersey issues first permit for medical marijuana
Seventeen states and Washington, D.C., have approved medical marijuana laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan research group based in Denver. Bloomberg

Pot supplier gets permit
Seventeen states and Washington, D.C., have approved medical marijuana laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan research group based in Denver. Bloomberg/The Concord Monitor

Sidney R. 'Sid' Snyder
Sidney R. Snyder, 86, passed away Oct. 14, 2012, at his home in Long Beach. He was awarded many honors in his long legislative career. In 2002 he was awarded the Excellence in State Legislative Leadership Award by the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Council of State Governments. He was chosen from a field of more than 30 nominees from across the country. The Daily News Online

Oct. 15

Online voter registration helps bulk up voter rolls
Online registration is also very secure. Details on forms are automatically cross-referenced with motor vehicle or tax records, minimizing the risk of fraud, says Jennie Bowser, senior fellow at the non-profit National Conference of State Legislatures.  USA Today

New Mexico licenses won't work in airports under federal law: governor
Seventeen states have passed laws opposing compliance with the law, citing uncertainty about privacy protections and a failure by the federal government to fully fund the law's requirements, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Reuters

Popularity of absentee voting continues to grow
In Maine, voters don't need to provide a reason to vote absentee and registered voters can request their ballots anytime between now and Thursday, Nov. 1. Maine is one of 32 states, and the District of Columbia, where any qualified voter may vote before Election Day without an excuse, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Morning Sentinel

N.J. tax collections surge, but not enough to meet Christie's goals
A recent study by the National Conference of State Legislatures found New Jersey is counting on the third-largest revenue bump of all states at 8.6 percent.  NJ.com

Do ballot initiatives reflect nation's mood toward 2012 election?
Meanwhile, in "a symptom of the polarization in American politics," 12 popular referendums qualified for the November ballot, noted Jennie Drage Bowser of the National Conference of State Legislatures to Governing magazine.  Alaska Dispatch

Wyoming voters will decide on "right to hunt" amendment
Wyoming is not the only state debating this issue. Thirteen already have language guaranteeing the right to hunt and fish in their constitutions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Wyoming Tribune Eagle

New Mexico sheriffs group may lobby for repeal of state illegal immigrant driver's license law
The National Conference of State Legislatures said 17 states have passed laws that prohibit compliance with the Real ID program.  The Republic

Transportation funding, term limits defined by candidates
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in 2010 "more than $11 billion was generated in the United States from severance taxes alone.  Williamsport Sun-Gazette

AG: Law not keeping pace with synthetic drugs
More than 40 states have approved bans on synthetic marijuana and bath salts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks proposals in state capitols.  Jamestown Sun/AP

Watson appointed to lead NCSL Law And Criminal Justice Standing Committee
NCSL’s Law and Criminal Justice Standing Committee is one of 10 committees that deals with county, state, and federal issues. The jurisdictions of the standing committees are similar to those of committees in state legislatures.  The Chattanoogan

Wayne delegate earns leadership position on national committee
Delegate Don Perdue, D-Wayne, has been named the co-chairman of the National Conference of State Legislatures' Health Committee, the West Virginia House of Delegates announced Oct. 10.  The State Journal

Oct. 12

Michigan voters to decide renewable energy mandate
In Michigan, voters will decide whether to force the state's utilities get at least 25 percent of their annual retail sales from renewable sources by 2025. NPR Morning Edition

School choice proponents screen controversial film
It's an actual law already passed in about seven states (not including Utah), according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Salt-Lake Tribune

Panicked call highlights effect of synthetic drugs
More than 40 states have approved bans on synthetic marijuana and bath salts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks proposals in state capitols. The Bismarck Tribune

New Mexico lawsuit seeks straight party ticket voting
Nationwide, only 13 states allow straight party ticket voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/Santa Fe New Mexican

Ruling defangs anti-Obamacare amendment
"It basically will be on the books, and that's it," Rachel Morgan, senior policy specialist for the national Conference of State Legislatures, said of the Amendment 1 vote. The Tampa Tribune

(Opinion) Early voters get head start on Election Day
However, 32 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, now allow voters to cast early, in-person ballots for any reason, even sheer convenience. The Gadsen Times

Oct. 11

New Mexico asks about REAL ID Act driver's license extension
Republican Gov. Susana Martinez asked a federal department Wednesday whether there will be another extension of a looming deadline to comply with a nationwide law imposing security standards for driver's licenses. According to NCSL, 17 states have passed laws prohibiting compliance. AP/The El Paso Times

Diversion court's 'soft, cuddly approach' attempts to keep teens from lives as hardened criminals
It’s not a new trend, nor is it isolated to the Las Vegas Valley. Black youths ages 10 through 17 are four times more likely to be incarcerated than white youths, according to a 2011 report by the National Conference of State Legislators. The Las Vegas Sun

The controversy over state photo ID laws for voting continues to heat up
If you want to know more about what’s going on in your own state, or if you’re curious about voter registration requirements nationwide, you can find a wealth of details on a website provided by the National Conference of State Legislatures (www.ncsl.org). NCSL has compiled a detailed state-by-state list of current and proposed legislation along with an interactive map that shows voter registration laws for each state. This is also a good site for information about other legislative activity at the state level, and there are no stories of little old ladies, just straightforward facts. The Washington Times

Kanawha prosecutor seeks sexting law targeting juveniles
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 19 states have enacted bills to address sexting by juveniles. The Charleston Daily Mail

Biden and Ryan set for key debate as fresh polls released
Under early voting people cast ballots at election officials' offices or satellite offices. At least 12 states require that early vote centers be open on a weekend day, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The UK Daily Mail

Don Perdue appointed to health committee
West Virginia House Health Chairman Don Perdue, D-Wayne, has been appointed to serve as co-chairman of the National Conference of State Legislatures' Health Committee. The Herald-Dispatch

New California law prohibiting credit checks on job applicants
Seven states, including California, have passed laws prohibiting or limiting how employers may use credit reports to make hiring decisions. More than 20 other states are currently considering similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). The Sacramento Press

Oct. 10

Redistricting and its impact on the battle for the House
The GOP had unilateral authority over the drawing of 202 congressional districts, Democrats had authority over 47, and the others were drawn by a commission or  by governors and legislatures from different parties, according to  the National Conference of State Legislators. NBC News

Supreme Court to hear case of white student who claims affirmative action cost her a college place
There are six states that have laws banning the use of affirmative action in public universities (Arizona, Michigan, Nebraska, Washington, California and Florida, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures). The UK Daily Mail

State, local leadership needed on federal debt reduction
Earlier in the year, the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures sent a letter to Congress and the president to ask for passage of a comprehensive plan modeled after the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform's Moment of Truth report and the Bipartisan Policy Center's Restoring America’s Future. NCSL specifically identified the "need to examine all possible avenues for deficit reduction, including discretionary spending, entitlement reform and revenue-related options." The Casper Star-Tribune

Register to vote now: Last day for 2012 election
Early voting varies on a state by state basis. You can see what options are available to you by going to the National Conference of State Legislatures website: "Two-thirds of the states–32, plus the District of Columbia–offer some sort of early voting.  Early voting allows voters to visit an election official’s office or, in some states, other satellite voting locations, and cast a vote in person without offering an excuse for why the voter is unable to vote on election day." The Inquisitr

Oct. 9

Mississippi fights over health law as states resist key element
"It’s gotten very, very political," said Joy Johnson Wilson, health policy director at the National Conference of State Legislatures. States are waiting for the Nov. 6 presidential election, which is also delaying federal rule-making on the exchanges, she said in an interview. "On Nov. 7, maybe things can start happening again." Bloomberg

Supreme Court to hear case brought by white student who claims race cost her admission to UT
There are six states that have laws banning the use of affirmative action in public universities (Arizona, Michigan, Nebraska, Washington, California and Florida, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures). ABC News/Yahoo! News

N.J. no longer ranked as least business-friendly state, report says
Democrats have delayed enacting the cut until the economy begins rebounding enough to over the governor's optimistic revenue growth estimates of more than 8 percent, the second highest expected bump in the nation according to a recent report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Star-Ledger

Early voting could diminish late Romney surge
Altogether 32 states permit unrestricted early voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures which published a graphic showing which states allow early voting and under what conditions. Yahoo! News

Political Polygraph: Coffman’s ‘Jessica’s Law’ attack ad against Miklosi falls into gray
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 23 states have enacted both electronic monitoring and 25-year minimum sentences. The Denver Post

New survey examines states' investments in dealing with diabetes
States are investing millions to prevent or control diabetes, according to a new survey from the National Conference of State Legislatures. "With states looking at ways to control Medicaid costs, lawmakers recognize that programs to help prevent diabetes can be one of the tools," Richard Cauchi, a health program director at the NCSL's Denver office, said in the news release. HealthDay News

Oct. 8

Wash. ballot item no 'trigger,' backers say
But unlike typical parent-trigger laws, the Washington state initiative is written in way that means that gathering those parent signatures, on its own, would guarantee nothing, notes Josh Cunningham, a policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nonpartisan research organization in Denver.  Education Week

Ballot questions ask voters about marijuana, same-sex marriage
“These measures are all very similar to what was on the ballot in California two years ago,”  Jennie Bowser of the National Conference of State Legislatures told Here & Now‘s Robin Young. “Proposition 19 would have legalized the use and sale and possession of marijuana for anybody age 21 or older, and regulated it and taxed it much the same way alcohol is regulated and taxed.”  WBUR

States weigh tax policy on drilling
A dozen states since 2011 have seen proposals to impose a new tax on natural-gas and oil production, or to raise, lower or amend an existing tax, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Durango Herald/AP

Report: AZ tax revenues to rise 5% in FY '13
A spokesman for Gov. Jan Brewer said the prediction by the National Conference of State Legislatures is "very much in line" with the state's earlier estimate of a 5.5 percent revenue increase in fiscal 2013.  Arizona Daily Star

Issue 2 could change the balance of power in Ohio
Nine states use appointed citizen commissions to draw legislative lines, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California’s 14-member commission, created in 2008, most closely resembles Ohio’s Issue 2 proposal.  Dayton Daily News

Easier access to ballot is pushed by Democrats
In the 1990s, Republican strongholds like Idaho and Wyoming instituted Election Day registration. The National Conference of State Legislatures says that while little evidence of in-person voter fraud has been found, voter turnout in states with Election Day registration has been at least 10 percent higher than in states without it.  New York Times

Wells Fargo boosts lobbying presence
“It’s not inherently bad to increase the number” of lobbyists, said Peggy Kerns, director of the ethics center at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “If there are certain policy issues that are being taken up, that happens. The number of lobbyists ebbs and flows based on what the issues are.”  Bloomberg Businessweek/Charlotte Observer

SC election officials push for early voting
In 32 states and the District of Columbia, any qualified voter is able to cast a ballot during a designated period prior to Election Day with no excuse or justification, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Herald

Hawaii struggles to pass e-fairness law
It’s impossible to know just how much states are losing in sales tax and related revenue because of remote transactions, but the National Conference of State Legislatures estimates the national total at $23.3 billion in 2012.  Hawaii Business

Straight-Party voters face a tangled ticket
South Carolina is one of 16 states that allows straight-party-ticket voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Charlotte Observer

Wyoming voters will get a say on Obamacare mandate
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 16 states have passed laws or constitutional changes saying they will not implement or enforce the individual mandate.  Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Better know a ballot measure
“It’s the other side of the aisle pulling back in that game of political tug-of-war,” says Jennie Bowser, a policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures who focuses on ballot measures.  The American Prospect

Abortion issue raises privacy concerns
Some supporters of the federal health care law fear Amendment 1 could be used in lawsuits, but the immediate effect would be minimal, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Palm Beach Post

There oughta be a law: Really?
But there’s little evidence on what actual impact a biennial legislature has on the lawmaking process, said Meagan Dorsch, spokeswoman for the National Conference of State Legislatures, a research group.  “One thing to remember is that bills are often introduced by legislators at the request of a constituent. Even though the legislation might seem frivolous to one person, it is a way for a legislator to let constituents know that he or she is listening and representing their interests,” Dorsch said.  The Daily Journal

Teens need programs, not jail cells
Nationally, states are reexamining their treatment of youth offenders. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, many states are choosing rehabilitation over the tough-on-crime attitude that came in vogue during a rise in juvenile crime in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  Opinion in the Baltimore Sun

Restaurant closes after roadkill found in kitchen
The Associated Press also found in an informal survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures that at least 14 states, including Illinois, Vermont and New York, have laws deeming roadkill salvageable.  Time Magazine

New survey examines states' investments in dealing with diabetes
States are investing millions to prevent or control diabetes, according to a new survey from the National Conference of State Legislatures.  iVillage

Acu-data business products offers an innovative way to advertise while helping to save the planet
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures: States are continuing to consider strategies to reduce the number of plastic carry-out bags from grocery stores and other retail outlets.  PR Leap

Oct. 5

Michigan voters to consider supermajority tax requirement
Fifteen states have supermajority requirements for tax hikes written into their constitutions, while two others have laws requiring them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Detroit Free Press

Five-year-olds put to the test as kindergarten exams gain steam
About a dozen states, including Georgia and Maryland, have developed such broad assessments, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters/NBC News

Jobless rate for Post-9/11 vets down last month
In testimony before a joint meeting of the House and Senate veterans’ affairs committee, Vietnam veteran James Koutz, the Legion’s national commander, said the 2.4 million-member organization is working with the White House, Congress, the National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, federal agencies and the private sector to improve job opportunities for veterans. The Marine Corps Times

Nething named chapel campaign chairman
During his tenure in the Senate, Nething served on legislative committees, and was Senate leader from 1974-1986, president pro-tem from 1997-1998 and past president of the National Conference of State Legislatures from 1985-86. The Jamestown Sun

D.C. eyes online voter registration
Since introducing online voter registration in Arizona in 2002, more that 70 percent of registration in the state is now performed online, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. The Washington Examiner

Oct. 4

Nine states predicting increased tax revenue
An analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) reveals that nine states are predicting tax revenue increases of more than 5% this fiscal year. The Wall Street Journal

California's Department of Fish and Game gets a name change - and controversy
Moreover, data from the association and the National Conference of State Legislatures indicates the shift away from "game" is accelerating, the Associated Press reported. NBC News

Reid not through yet with online gambling efforts: States in uproar
The National Conference of State Legislatures is unhappy that Reid’s bill calls for federal control over the industry with his home state of Nevada acting as the ultimate beneficiary. Gambling 911

Mailer misleads Ohioans on job losses
And it continues to be among the top states for government jobs losses under Obama, according to the Rutgers study and the National Conference of State Legislatures. FactCheck.org/Yahoo! News

State funding for education down $198 million since 2009, lawmakers are told
Daniel G. Thatcher, a policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said various studies manipulate numbers on school spending to achieve certain outcomes. He said based on fiscal year 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data, per pupil spending nationally was $10,615. Oklahoma ranked 48th out of 51 states, spending $7,896, he said. The Tulsa World

Area senator to lead cooperative effort on labor, economic development
As co-chairman of NCSL's Labor and Economic Development Committee, state Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Wheatfield, will meet with members of Congress to discuss jobs and other related topics. NWI Politics

Arizona predicts 5 percent increase in tax collections
A spokesman for Gov. Jan Brewer said the prediction by National Conference of State Legislatures is "very much in line" with the state's earlier estimate of a 5.5 percent revenue increase in fiscal 2013. Cronkite News Service/KTAR

Voters to decide fate of $4 Billion in state bond issues
Infrastructure bond issues have roared back onto statewide ballots in this year's presidential election, with more than $4 billion dollars' worth tallied in nine states, up from $1.9 billion in five states two years ago, says the National Conference of State Legislatures, or NCSL. Engineering News-Record

Oct. 3

Everything you need to know about early voting — in 1 map
Here's a quick rundown on what the rules are in different states from the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Atlantic

Future of voter ID in other states is unclear
In recent years, 30 states have put in place laws requiring voters to show some form of identification before casting a ballot, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Philadelphia Inquirer

Judge blocks Pennsylvania voter ID law before election
A judge in the US state of Pennsylvania has stopped new ID requirements for voters from taking effect before November's presidential election. NCSL figures cited. BBC News

Cash-strapped states weigh drilling taxes
A dozen states since 2011 have seen proposals to impose a new tax on oil and gas production, or to raise, lower or amend an existing tax, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register

Court ruling takes teeth out of proposed health care amendment
"It basically will be on the books, and that's it," Rachel Morgan, senior policy specialist for the national Conference of State Legislatures, said of the Amendment 1 vote. The Tampa Tribune

Sporting groups leery of name change to Department of Fish and Wildlife
Eighteen states use "wildlife," while the others generally use "natural resources" or "conservation." The trend recently seems to have accelerated, according to the association and the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Record Searchlight

Court blocks Pennsylvania voter ID law
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 17 US states have passed laws requiring identification at the polls, citing concerns about voter fraud or voting by non-citizens. Manila Bulleting Online

Pennsylvania judge blocks voter ID law; here’s where other states stand
Georgia, Kansas, Indiana and Tennessee are enforcing new "strict" voter ID laws, meaning voters without a picture ID may cast a provisional ballot but must return with valid photo identification for that ballot to be counted. In "non-strict" states, voters without ID are given other options for casting a regular ballot, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Lamar Ledger

Chemical structure of bath salts similar to cocaine
To fight this staggering trend at least 38 states have banned bath salts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Paris Post-Intelligencer

Oct. 2

States bristle at Reid's push to legalize online poker in lame-duck session
James Ward, a committee director at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), said his members were frustrated by Reid’s proposal. “It’s frustrating because they are overseeing a successful stewardship of the gaming industry,” Ward told The Hill. “It’s not clear why any federal intervention is necessary. ... It’s a sensitive topic for the states any time you talk about preemption.” The Hill

Ellen Roberts: Everybody gets the deficit problem
I’ve just spent a week in Denver as a member of two legislative committees, one focused on Colorado wildfires and the other on our water resources, followed by attending the quarterly meeting of the executive committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). The newly elected NCSL president and president-elect have selected their incoming committee leadership and I’m pleased that I’ve been asked to be the Republican co-chair of the national conference’s Budgets and Revenue Committee for the next two years. My Democratic co-chair and I have our work cut out for us. The Cortez Journal

Opinion: Day one on the edge of the human cliff
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that states and the people they serve will lose, among other amounts: approximately $600 million for Head Start, $140 million in financial aid for college students, $2 billion for rental assistance programs, nearly $600 million for disaster relief, and block grant program funding for health, human services, and community development. The Huffington Post

How will the voter ID controversy impact the 2012 elections?
Overall, 32 states have some form of voter ID law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Politicker NJ

Interactive map of 33 states’ voter ID laws
The National Conference of State Legislatures put together an interactive map of the 33 states that have passed voter ID legislation. Politic365

Opinion: Are voter identification laws good policy?
The first so-called voter ID laws were passed in 2003, and 30 states currently require some form of voter identification, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The News-Gazette

Oct. 1

New Calif. law bans employers from asking for personal passwords
Illinois and Maryland have legislation similarly barring the practice. Delaware prohibits universities from soliciting passwords. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 14 states have introduced similar bills. ABC News Univision

Who are the early voters, and why do they matter?
Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia allow early voting in person without any excuse required, and over the course of October, polls will beginning opening in Ohio, North Carolina, Nevada, and elsewhere, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Washington Post

'Won't Back Down': A film to spur parent-led coups on public schools?
Similar laws have been considered in about 20 states and have been adopted in Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, Texas, and Connecticut, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Christian Science Monitor

Mississippi State Treasurer Lynn Fitch: Is MPACT a greater fiscal risk than PERS?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, state lawmakers in 49 states and the District of Columbia have authorized 529 plans. The Mississippi Press

Deregulation of medical facilities on lawmakers agenda
The National Conference of State Legislatures, in a report updated earlier this year, says states with certificate of need systems vary considerably in what is covered. Vermont has broadest coverage, with a certificate required for 30 types of facilities, services and equipment. Ohio has the least — nursing home beds. Tennessee has 20 by the conference's count. The Knoxville News Sentinel

Cycles turn deadly: Small island, low speed limit, high death rate
Forty-seven states have adopted laws that require at least some motorcycle riders to wear helmets, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of those, 20 states require all riders to wear a helmet. Another 27 states have laws like Guam, which require only young riders -- under the age of either 18 or 21 -- to wear a helmet. Guam Pacific Daily News

Bill that would allow guns on campus not passed by Kansas Senate
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures website, “Five states now have provisions allowing the carrying of concealed weapons on public postsecondary campuses. These states are Colorado, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah, and Wisconsin.” The Kansas State Collegian

Daring to make a difference
Similar laws have been considered in about 20 states and have been adopted in Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, Texas, and Connecticut, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, adds CSM. The Examiner

Early voting heats up as U.S. election draws near
There are 31 states with some form of voter ID laws in place. Three more states have laws that may be enacted before the November election if they clear legal hurdles, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Turkish Weekly

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