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NCSL in the News October 2013

NCSL in the News: October 2013

10/1/2013

Oct. 31

New Jersey poised to add a minimum wage hike to its constitution
If passed, it would make New Jersey the fifth state to include the minimum wage in its constitution and the 11th to adopt automatic increases, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Washington Post

Legislature approves Facebook access for members
Curtis Clothier, the Legislature's technology chief, said his research with the National Conference of State Legislatures found that the Alaska Legislature had the most restrictive rules for accessing Facebook. Anchorage Daily News

Rural Colo. school allowing teachers to carry handguns
This year, legislators in Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas passed laws that authorize at least one school employee to carry a weapon on campus, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some of the statutes revised existing laws. KUSA-TV/USA Today

Over Christie's Loud Objections, New Jersey Set to Raise Its Minimum Wage
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures:
*18 states and D.C. have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage.
 *23 states and VI have minimum wages the same as the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
 *4 states and PR have minimum wages below the federal minimum wage (the federal minimum thus applies).
 *5 states have not established a state minimum wage. Bloomberg Businessweek

$400M needed to fund spans
The special legislative panel will meet again on Nov. 20 with the National Conference of State Legislatures. They will discuss what other states are doing to help fund transportation infrastructure. The Jamestown Press

Assembly Republicans scrap bill expanding who could bring guns into schools
In all, 40 states have some type of exemption to weapons bans on school property, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Wisconsin State Journal

Opinion: Opposition to Affordable Care Act could have consequences for millions
◦Since 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 state legislatures have enacted legislation designed to opt out of the ACA or challenge some of its broad or mandatory provisions. healthpolicysolutions.org

MacArthur Grants to Help Strengthen American Democracy
Here are the new grants: $300,000 will be awarded to the National Conference of State Legislatures to examine technology’s role in running good elections and to convene lawmakers, elections officials, and security and technology experts, among others, at a national summit on voting technology. realestaterama.com

Oct. 30

Power shift sought in Pierre: Governor's office has been dominating legislative process
“There’s no doubt that South Dakota has more limits on the capacity of the Legislature than most other states,” said Karl Kurtz, a political scientist at the National Conference of State Legislatures. ArgusLeader.com

Speaker Shannon to study state agency fees
According to Todd Haggerty of the National Conference of State Legislatures, Oklahoma is 16th in the union when it comes to fee reliance for state revenue and has a greater reliance on fees than most states in our region. During the study, Haggerty said it would be to the benefit of Oklahoma to assess its fee structures for future economic development and financial stability. KFOR-TV Oklahoma City

AmeriMark Direct president wonders how his catalogs will collect sales taxes under the Marketplace Fairness Act
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that states collectively miss out on $25 billion in a year in uncollected sales taxes from online sales. Cleveland.com

Proposal would allow permit holders to bring guns into schools
In all, 40 states have some type of exemption to weapons bans on school property, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Chippewa Herald

Grand Forks architect's hunting trip with UND, NDSU presidents raises questions
North Dakota doesn’t have any rules or laws regarding legislators doing business with the state, unlike some that restrict such business to the result of a competitive bidding process, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Grand Forks Herald

Education Issues Animate N.J., Va. Governors' Races
That proposal, Amendment 66, is one of only two statewide ballot measures around the nation this year that directly affect K-12, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Education Week

State Rep. Cathrynn Brown tours French nuclear facility on fact-finding trip
Brown, a member of the National Conference of State Legislatures and New Mexico Legislature's Interim Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committee, was invited to join legislators from other states on a fact-finding tour of France's premier nuclear facilities. Current-Argus News

Special report: Not all legislators paid the same
With the average taxable income of a Louisiana legislator coming in at roughly $41,755, they're still far below their counterparts in places such as Illinois, $67,836; Massachusetts, $60,032; and Ohio, $60,583, according to the latest salary breakdown compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. dailycomet.com

California's plastic recycling law lacks oversight

More than a dozen states this year considered fees or bans on the bags, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/Daily Democrat

States criminalize 'revenge porn'
Similar measures have been introduced in Florida, Wisconsin, New York and Texas, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures." Politico

Facebook and Twitter musings give employers a peek into our real selves
From the site of the National Conference of State Legislatures, here's a summary of current state legislation on laws regarding employer demands for social media passwords. thestar.com

Oct. 29

Mothers of gun victims speak out against ‘Stand Your Ground’
Self defense laws in at least 22 states –  Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin –  provide civil immunity under certain self defense circumstances, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Florida was the first state to pass the “Stand your ground” laws in 2005. MSNBC

Massachusetts’ Big Bet on Performance-Based College Funding
Indeed, performance funding is now on the upswing across the country. Besides Massachusetts and Tennessee, 11 states have added performance criteria to their community college base budgets (some also are including universities), while four other states are transitioning to some form of it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Governing

Senators bicker over stand your ground laws
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 22 states have laws that allow that "there is no duty to retreat (from) an attacker in any place in which one is lawfully present." The states are Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia, according to the NCSL. AP/WKRN TV Nashville

MAP: 9 States Besides Texas That Are Making It Harder for Women to Vote
For even more in-depth information on your state, head over to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Mother Jones

Which States Offer The Best EV Incentives?
According to an overview for the National Conference of State Legislatures by Policy Specialist Kristy Hartman, as of July 2013 no less than 94 bills were pending in 20 states that encourage the purchase and use of hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles. hybridcars.com

Panelists Talk Vehicle Miles Traveled Fee Option for Transportation Financing
Transportation financing experts met in Denver at the 2013 AASHTO Annual Meeting to discuss the idea of a fee on vehicle miles traveled as a means to fund surface transportation. This session featured Jaime Rall of the National Conference of State Legislatures, Jack Opiola of D'Artagnan Consulting, and Jack Basso of the Mileage-Based User Fee Alliance. ForConstructionPros.com

Oct. 28

A bid to keep youths out of adult prisons
Sarah Brown, a director of the criminal justice program at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said the shift stems from a decline in juvenile crime, concerns about the costs of adult prisons and a growing understanding of adolescent brain development showing that the young have a greater potential for rehabilitation. The New York Times

Rise in caucuses raises questions about process of filling legislative vacancies
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 25 states fill state legislative vacancies through appointment. Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

Drug-testing for public aid costly, nets few denials
This year, at least 29 states considered drug testing for people who receive cash assistance from the primary federal welfare program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, but only two measures passed, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Ten states considered testing laws for unemployment compensation benefits, and two measures passed. The Columbus Dispatch

Proposed law targets pensions of embezzlers
Most states do not allow for the seizure of pension funds from public employees, with only 21 states having some form of pension fund seizure for public employees convicted of crimes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Cincinnati Enquirer

Few Problems With Cannabis for California
After California, medical marijuana was legalized in 19 states and the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The New York Times

Rule could kill Maine bill tying job search to welfare benefits
Fredette’s job search bill has been enacted by 19 other states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Portland Press Herald

Preliminary pot measure recommendations coming after health, law enforcement input
The Florida Police Chiefs Association also submitted information from a 2013 analysis of Colorado’s legal marijuana program drawn from the National Conference of State Legislatures to Baker. Tallahassee Democrat

Job skills gap widens at high cost to U.S. economy
State budgets have begun to stabilize, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but the return to pre-recession levels of education funding will take time. CantonRep.com

PolitiFact Florida: Education commissioner half right on Common Core cost
The National Conference of State Legislatures offers a sample list of what to expect: one-time transition costs such as new instructional materials, tests, technology and teacher training, and ongoing maintenance and updates. Tampa Bay Times

Kentucky General Assembly Still Reeling Two Months After Sexual Harassment Allegations Surface
In the meantime, lawmakers have asked National Conference of State Legislatures to audit the LRC. WKMS

Fiscal session could see more state health insurance reform proposals
Nickels also mentioned a 2010 study by the National Conference of State Legislatures which concluded states that consolidated all public sector insurance plans would save money by containing costs, simplification and with multi-agency purchasing arrangements. Log Cabin Democrat

Oct. 25

Montana legislators debate rolling back term limits
Term limits given are the lowest number of years anyone can serve in a given chamber. Some states, like Arkansas, have different limits for the state House, six years, and state Senate, eight years. Source: National Conference of State Legislatures. The Washington Post

What States Are the Drones Watching?
In a report published this week, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) tallied the number of states where drone-regulating bills are pending or passed. The New American

Oct. 24

Pennsylvania bill assures no-fault apologies
More than half the states have provisions in statute or court rules about apologies by doctors, according to a count by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Should Minnesota adopt electronic pollbooks for elections?
Currently at least 14 states permit their use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Minnesota Post

Laws seek to protect unemployed from discrimination
New Jersey and Oregon enacted laws since 2011 prohibiting employers from setting current employment as a requirement in job applications. Laws are pending in Florida, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania and Nevada, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Major cities are also getting involved. Corning Leader

Oct. 23

Colorado School-Spending Overhaul Hinges on Tax Vote
The state "has to subject this sausage-making process to the voting public," said Dan Thatcher, an education policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Education Week

Oct. 22

2013 State and Local Election Preview
New Jersey has both legislative chambers up this year. But overall, the number of legislative seats up this year is “tiny – just 340 seats” out of 7,383 nationally, said elections analyst Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Governing

Republicans Might Be Mad at John Kasich, But Voters Won't Be
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only four of the expansions are happening without legislative approval: West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and Vermont (which already had expanded coverage and didn't need to change its law). National Journal

Schools moving to required Common Core standards
One criticism of Common Core is the cost. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are two broad cost categories: the initial, upfront transition costs and investments and the ongoing costs. Sidney Herald

Guns at School? If there's a will, there are ways
In the wake of the Newtown, Conn., rampage in December, 33 states considered new legislation aimed at arming teachers and administrators, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Only five enacted laws that expanded the ability for public educators to arm themselves at school. Honolulu Star-Advertiser

'Trade' Deal Would Elevate Corporations to Equal Status With Nation States (Opinion)
The U.S. National Conference of State Legislatures, representing all 50 state bodies -- most of which are GOP-controlled -- issued a resolution last year announcing that it will oppose any U.S. trade agreement with investor-state enforcement. Let's hope their common-sense position spreads. The Huffington Post

Too Unschooled for School
And more than 75 percent of remedial community-college students will not earn a degree, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Village Voice

Oct. 21

California's new politics stir interest
“A crisis like this leads people to think about ways we can avoid it ever happening again," said Tim Storey, an elections analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “There is going to be a lot of discussion about these type of reforms now. I anticipate a wave of measures will come when most legislatures get back into session in January," Storey said. Los Angeles Times

Will the Feds Regulate E-Cigarettes?
State legislators across the country have introduced more than 35 proposals calling for some type of regulation of electronic cigarettes in various states, says Karmen Hanson, health program manager for the National Conference of State Legislatures. “States have shown an interest in regulating these products, and until the feds take an official stance, the states are taking the lead in doing what’s best for them,” she says. Governing

On Election Day ballots: Food labeling, marijuana taxes and casino gambling
A combined 31 measures are spread among ballots in six states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Washington Times

Lou Cannon: States Try to Fill Federal Vacuum on Immigration Reform
According to a recent report from the National Conference of State Legislatures based on State Net data, legislatures in the first six months of 2013 enacted 146 laws and 231 resolutions on immigration, more than in the entire year of 2012. State New Capitol Journal/Noozhawk

Hunterdon County town to hold one of New Jersey's first gay wedding ceremonies
Visit this page by the National Conference of State Legislatures for more information on gay marriage laws by state. WFMZ-TV

The Stroller: 'Good riddance'
Visit the National Conference of State Legislatures’ site describing the act’s health exchange help for small businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees. GoUpstate.com

New York court says drug testing labs can be sued for faulty results
New York has no cap on damages. At least 32 other states limit civil damage amounts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Columbian

Schnurman: Texas should stay the course on in-state tuition for immigrants (Column)
California soon adopted a similar law, and today 16 states allow the tuition break, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Dallas Morning News

Politics of Dysfunction
When the smoke of Election Day 2010 cleared, the Republicans held 53 percent of all state legislative seats in the country. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a non-partisan group that keeps track of these things, Republicans hadn’t done that well since 1928. Las Vegas Guardian Express

Senator Lucio Jr. receives Voice for Children Award
In addition to his work in the state legislature, Senator Lucio was recently appointed to the National Conference of State Legislatures Foundation Hunger Partnership, a group of legislators and staff from across the country tasked with raising the visibility of, and highlighting innovative and lasting solutions to hunger in America. KVEO Newscenter 23

Oct. 18

Oregonians to vote on immigrant driver's licenses
Thirteen states, including Oregon, now have laws that allow immigrants, regardless of their immigration status, to obtain a driver's license or driving privilege card, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Albany Democrat-herald

Rankin jail is a model to keep teens from returning
The facility was on display Thursday afternoon when four national caucuses of color from the National Conference of State Legislatures took a tour. WLOX

New Hampshire receives grant to help implement education standards
The award is part of an initiative by the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of Chief State School Officers and State Higher Education Executive Officers. The Concord Monitor

Virginia Civil War 150 HistoryMobile tour schedule announced
In addition, the Commission has received several awards for its work promoting the sesquicentennial, including an Outstanding Achievement award from the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Distinguished History Service Award from the Virginia Historical Society. Smith Mountain Eagle

Blumner: Misjudging voter ID laws  (Opinion)
Thirty-four largely Republican-controlled states have voter ID requirements, though not all have been implemented, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Tampa Bay Times

Should drug testing labs be liable for faulty results?
New York has no cap on damages. At least 32 other states limit civil damage amounts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The News-Herald

The Army of the Maroon T-Shirt (Opinion)
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a total of 34 states have passed voter ID laws that, in some states, threaten to disenfranchise people who can’t get driver’s licenses or other photo identification (translation: poor people). Imperial Valley Press

Oct. 17

Term limits have Louisiana politicians searching for new elections
In general, term limits don't seem to have increased the overall competition in elections for legislative seats. Newcomers don't necessarily have to take on an incumbent as often, but that doesn't mean more of them are running. "People just wait for a seat to become vacant," said Karl Kurtz, who works on the issue for the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Times-Picayune

Voter ID plan by Nebraska Secretary of State Gale would apply to narrow group
A total of 34 states have enacted some form of a voter ID law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Omaha.com

Shuttered clinic is a wake-up call
For this reason, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing has adopted a model of regulation that frees nurse practitioners and their patients from these arbitrary arrangements. Additional organizations — the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Governors Association and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies — now cite this model for its ability to improve timely patient care and accessibility, and create greater efficiency in our health care delivery system. St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Should drug testing labs be liable for faulty results?
New York has no cap on damages. At least 32 other states limit civil damage amounts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Monterey Herald

Legislators touring Rankin Youth Detention Center
The National Conference of State Legislatures is bringing together the group from caucuses made up of black, Hispanic, Native American and Asian-Pacific American lawmakers. AP/Westport News

Oct. 16

States target tax scofflaws with incentives and shame
According to Mandy Rafool, an economist with the National Conference of State Legislatures, other states have taken steps to beef up their tax collections this year:
•Alaska lowered its interest rate on delinquent payments as an incentive for tax delinquents to come forward.
•Kentucky instituted new compliance measures, including disallowing professional license renewals for delinquent taxpayers.
•Maine allocated more money to improve tax collections and compliance.
•Oregon added to its team for tax collection efforts.
•Vermont added staff and money to its state tax compliance department. USA Today

While feds stall, California advances immigration reform
In the first half of this year, 43 states and the District of Columbia enacted 146 laws and 231 resolutions related to immigration, touching on issues of work, health, education, law enforcement and voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures Immigrant Policy Project. Aljazeera America

Hough argues for webcasting committee votes, floor sessions
Maryland is one of only nine states that don't provide video webcasts of either chamber's legislative floor proceedings, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Frederick News-Post

Cities Fixing Budgets Prove Haven Amid U.S. Impasse: Muni Credit
During fiscal 2013, which ended in June for most states, revenue rose 5.3 percent from the prior year, boosting the amount of money they had at year-end by 23 percent, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg Businessweek

Lights on Afterschool observance focuses on programs in Oklahoma
Oklahoma is one of only 14 states that does not provide government funding for after-school programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Afterschool Alliance. NewsOK.com

Federal judge: Michigan gay marriage ban will go to trial
Thirty-five states, including Michigan, ban same-sex marriage, while 13 states plus the District of Columbia allow it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. NBC News

Exemptions key in same-sex vote
A comparison by an analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures found that eight of the 10 states and the District of Columbia that have same-sex marriage through legislation make specific provisions that exempt religious organizations from having to provide services, accommodations or privileges that are contrary to religious beliefs. Honolulu Star Advertiser

NY corruption commission expands probes
Twenty other states require lawmakers to regularly divulge at least some of their clients from business, law and consulting firms, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/Lake Placid News

Oct. 15

Supreme Court takes on affirmative action in Michigan ban case
The long-simmering debate over affirmative action dates back to the early 1960s, when President John K. Kennedy first called on federal contractors to take "affirmative action" to hire racial and ethnic minorities, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. NBC News

Oklahoma woman won't give up trying to reform state's marijuana laws
Ballot measures in Colorado and Washington created the most permissive marijuana laws in the U.S., according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Oklahoman

Judge Who Framed Voter ID Laws as Constitutional Says He Got it Wrong
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “a total of 34 states have passed voter ID laws of some kind.” The Nation

Pennsylvania State System to Discuss The Regulation Of Guns On Campus
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Pennsylvania is one of 23 states that allow individual colleges or universities to decide if they'll ban concealed weapons on campus. University Herald

Supervisor: Grow hemp in Washington County
Oregon’s law doesn’t classify industrial hemp as a controlled substance, and also allows state-processed growers to possess and produce it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. PostStar.com

NY Lawmakers Pressed to Describe Outside Income
Twenty other states require lawmakers to regularly divulge at least some of their clients from business, law and consulting firms, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. NBC 4 New York

Oct. 14

States back off from enacting immigration laws
Most noteworthy is that 24 states — double the number from previous years — passed resolutions asking the federal government to step in and take the reins on immigration, according to the report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Ann Morse, who helped prepare the report and heads the Immigrant Policy Project at the organization, says she hears this sentiment when she talks with state lawmakers from across the country. "They say, 'We can only do so much,'" she said. "They feel the government needs to come to the plate and finish the job.... Not acting on immigration reform is not a solution." Los Angeles Times

Public transportation use shows increase during 2012
A 2012 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures said that "affordability likely plays a role" in the growth of transit, noting "estimates are that an individual can save more than $10,000 a year by riding public transit instead of driving." USA Today/dnj.com

Assemblywoman Pays Visit to Temecula Preparatory School
The school was among two in the Temecula Valley Unified School District that Waldron visited Thursday in conjunction with America’s Legislators Back to School, a National Conference of State Legislatures program. Temecula Patch

Va. leads in fighting Medicaid fraud (by Delegate Rich Anderson)
I am neither an attorney nor a Medicaid expert, but I know one thing: As one of 30 legislators from across the country on the governing body of the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, I interact with a significant number of state legislators. The Roanoke Times

Judge Davenport chosen to serve on Three Branches Institute
The Three Branches model grew from collaboration among the National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Center for State Courts, and the National Council of Family and Juvenile Court Judges. WGNS Radio

Marion Democratic Committee to host state senator
Pacheco attended the recent National Conference of State Legislatures’ 2013 Legislative Summit in Atlanta, Georgia. He also moderated a session on energy efficiency. Sippican Week
 

Oct. 11

Editorial: Real decisions and no decisions
Last year, 10 states made major changes to public employee retirement plans, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Orlando Sentinel

Lawmakers might consider medical marijuana law
Members of the Legislature's committees on health in both houses heard from Karmen Hanson, a health policy expert with the National Conference of State Legislatures, and Matt Simon, a lobbyist and analyst with the Marijuana Policy Project, about how other states had handled legalizing marijuana for medical purposes during the September interim committee meetings. Lincoln Journal

Amazon.com will start collecting sales tax from Wisconsin customers
States lost a total of $23 billion last year because they couldn't collect taxes on out-of-state sales, according to a study done for the National Conference of State Legislatures. About half of that was lost from Internet sales, half from purchases made through catalogs, mail orders and telephone orders, the study said. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Oct. 10

Employment support for disabled NC workers ends
Though North Carolina is the first state known to end WIC enrollment, most states will soon have to do the same, said Sheri Steisel, senior federal affairs counsel with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Raleigh News & Observer

Constitutional change would allow early voting in Mass.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 32 states and the District of Columbia allow early voting. Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia allow absentee votes for any reason. The Boston Globe

SC lawmakers get advice on school choice
John Cunningham with the National Conference of State Legislatures says Florida is saving money. He says Florida is saving about $1.50 for every dollar it spends in its school choice program that provides tax credits for private school scholarship donations. AP/WMCTV.com

Beware The Liability Of Sharing Your Car With Strangers
Only California, Oregon and Washington have revised their insurance laws to cover these types of peer-sharing services, by spelling out where the vehicle owner’s policy ends and the car-sharing services’ commercial policy begins, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Insurance in the U.S. is regulated by the states. Yahoo! Finance

Gun permits increase as concealed carry anniversary approaches
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 state legislatures introduced bills in 2013 to allow concealed carry on campuses, and two of them failed. The conference also said that five states tried to pass laws preventing guns on campuses in 2013, all of which failed. Marquette Tribune

Attorney hired to defend legislature in harassment case
The governing arm of the General Assembly, the 16 leaders of the two parties in both chambers, has also ordered a review of the LRC and its policies by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Richmond Register

Oct. 9

Lawmakers advance constitutional change to allow early voting
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 32 states and the District of Columbia allow early voting, on average 22 days before the election. Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia allow registered voters to vote absentee for any reason. Abington Mariner

Legislative website earns national accolade
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) recently awarded the Massachusetts Legislature the prestigious LINCS/NALIT Online Democracy Award for its newly developed legislative website. Millbury-Sutton Chronicle

Bills preventing minors from using tanning beds spark hot debate
Nationwide, five states — California, Illinois, Nevada, Texas and Vermont — outright ban the use of tanning beds by minors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Port Huron Times-Herald

Straight answers on crooked pols (Opinion)
I read through a document generated by the National Conference of State Legislatures quoting disqualification statutes and constitutional provisions in all 50 states, and concluded that Illinois' was the least coherent. Chicago Tribune

Food bank sending trucks to feed furloughed Grand Canyon workers
“This limitation in categorical eligibility would increase state administrative costs in SNAP and significantly curtail state flexibility,” the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures wrote in a May letter responding to a similar provision. Daily Kos

Oct. 8

Georgia bill would require bicycles to be licensed
Hawaii now is the only state that requires registration, said Douglas Shinkle, senior policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. USA Today

Bills preventing minors from using tanning beds sparks hot debate
Nationwide, five states — California, Illinois, Nevada, Texas and Vermont — outright ban the use of tanning beds by minors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Detroit Free Press

States used mortgage settlement money to balance budgets
States have no role in providing the $51 billion in relief to homeowners. But states do have wide discretion over the additional $2.5 billion, which was intended to ameliorate the housing crisis. Instead, according to a state-by-state list compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, many of them found other uses for the money. Detroit Free Press

States using mortgage settlement money for pet projects, budget shortfalls
It’s a development reported Tuesday by Stateline, the daily news service of The Pew Charitable Trusts, relying on research by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Market Watch/Wall Street Journal

Big Money Shapes GMO Food Labeling Fight In Wash.
“This year, we just saw an explosion with 95 bills in 28 states,” said Doug Farquhar, program director for environmental health at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Connecticut passed a GMO-labeling law, but it’s dependent on four other states passing similar legislation. AP/CBS News

True Legislature reform (Opinion)
A National Conference of State Legislatures review put Pennsylvania among states with the costliest legislatures, along with New York and California; Texas was halfway between states with traditional (cheap) legislatures and us “rich” Pennsylvanians. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Dobbs: Who is really to blame for government shutdown? (Opinion)
As the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures will tell you, every congressional district in America must have roughly the same number of voters (to ensure "one man, one vote"), and in the constitutionally mandated process of redistricting, each has to be shaped (or reshaped) every 10 years to reflect population shifts but keep what are called "communities of interest" within each district. The Denver Post

Idaho exchange reports progress despite slowdowns
Idaho is now being classified as a “supported state-based” exchange, Joy Wilson, director of health and human services policy for the National Conference of State Legislatures, told the Legislature’s joint Health Care Task Force. New Mexico is the only other state in that category, which is considered a subset of state-based exchanges. The Spokesman-Review

Haley: You never allow the country to shut down
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, most states “have formal balanced budget requirements with some degree of stringency, and state political cultures reinforce the requirements.” Greenville News

Oct. 7

Pa. officials weigh federal shutdown's impact on services
Officials in other states are talking in similar terms about how long their agencies can wait before the shutdown begins to have serious consequences, said Marcia Howard, executive director of Federal Funds Information for States, a service founded by the National Governors Association and National Conference of State Legislatures. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Young and homeless a target in Ohio's election
Turnout has been 10 percent to 17 percent higher than the national average in the six states that had same-day registration and voting before 2006, as well as in North Dakota (which doesn't have voter registration), according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/NBC News

Hotels, online sites fight over travel tax burden
At a meeting this year in Atlanta, the National Conference of State Legislators passed a resolution sponsored by a South Dakota Republican urging states to change that process. The Washington Post

Sen. Troy Jackson appointed to national committee
Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, has been appointed to the Natural Resources and Infrastucture Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures for the 2013-2014 term, according to a press release from the Maine Legislature Senate Majority Office. Sjvalley-Times

Marijuana, Gambling and Food Labels on State Ballots in November
Voters in six states will consider a combined 31 ballot questions on Nov. 5, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Governing

‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws and Trying to Prevent the Next Trayvon Martin
Indeed, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “[l]aws in at least 22 states allow that there is no duty to retreat [from] an attacker in any place in which one is lawfully present.” “[A]t least nine of those states include language stating one may “stand his or her ground.” Harvard Law School Record

Fewer Pa. lawmakers, fewer staffers
According to a 2009 study by the National Conference of State Legislatures, Pennsylvania, the nation's sixth-most-populous state, is second in total spending (behind California). Lancaster Online

Employers want your Facebook login? Lawmaker says 'no'
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 16 states in the last two years have enacted similar legislation. Another eight have passed laws banning the practice at academic institutions. Orlando Sentinel

Idaho exchange premiums come in below average of states
Idaho’s premiums through its new state health insurance exchange so far are coming in below the average, Joy Wilson, director of health and human services policy for the National Conference of State Legislatures, told Idaho lawmakers this morning. The Spokesman-Review

Is marijuana debate on the W.Va. horizon?
Members of the Legislature's committees on health in both houses heard from Karmen Hanson, a health policy expert with the National Conference of State Legislatures, and Matt Simon, a lobbyist and analyst with the Marijuana Policy Project, about how other states had handled legalizing marijuana for medical purposes during the September interim committee meetings. Journal & Sunday Journal

Big money shapes GMO food labeling fight in Wash.
"This year, we just saw an explosion with 95 bills in 28 states," said Doug Farquhar, program director for environmental health at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Connecticut passed a GMO-labeling law, but it's dependent on four other states passing similar legislation. Lancaster Online

Self-insurance for state employees could shake up Wisconsin market
Twenty states self-insure all state employees, while 26 states self-insure some of their workers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Wisconsin self-insures less than 5 percent of state workers, and the rest choose HMOs or other managed care plans. La Crosse Tribune

Skills Gap: Unemployment can become painful cycle
Laws are pending in Florida, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania and Nevada, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Major cities also are getting involved. State Journal-Register

Obama pledges schools upgrade in stimulus
But with state and local tax revenues plummeting because of the recession, where would states get the money to match school upgrade dollars from the feds? Already, 19 states have lowered their tax revenue forecasts for 2009, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/NBC News

Oct. 4

Head Start Dealt One-Two Punch Of Sequester And Shutdown
Maryland is one of about 20 states addressing these cuts at the state level, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. WAMU Washington, DC NPR

State Budgets: FY 2012 and 2013 Balances
Another report published by the National Conference of State Legislatures finds a total of 29 states and the District of Columbia recording estimated fiscal year 2012 year-end balances exceeding 5 percent of general fund spending, the amount most rating agencies recommended. Only California and Washington state anticipated deficits. Governing

LRC policies to be audited following sexual-harassment scandal
Stivers and Stumbo said they also expect the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures to be helpful in conducting an audit of how the legislative branch functions while also providing advice on the search for a new permanent director. Courier-Journal

Guest opinion: Ethics reform in Mr. Jefferson’s capitol
Over the last six months, I have been working with colleagues at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) on the subject of ethics reform in the 50 states. NCSL is a bi-partisan organization widely known as “The Forum for America’s Ideas,” and I am one of 30 legislators from across America who sit on its governing body. Inside NOVA

Oct. 3

Christie’s Coattails Worry N.J. Democrats in Legislature
Gains by Republicans in New Jersey this year would reverse a tide that saw Democrats across the U.S. pick up about 150 seats last year and recapture eight chambers they lost in 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg

Many States Plan to Give Academic Credit for Military Service
At least 26 states have passed legislation directing their boards of education to develop statewide policies to provide academic credit to the largest influx of veterans since the end of World War II, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Governing

Acting director named for Kentucky's troubled Legislative Research Commission
Legislative leaders also authorized the National Conference of State Legislatures to help find a permanent replacement for Sherman. Stivers said that process could take six to eight months. Lexington Herald-Leader

Proposed bill ties welfare cash to job search
Earlier this year, the Legislature defeated a LePage administration proposal that would have allowed the state Department of Health and Human Services to seek a waiver from the federal government to ban the use of food stamps to buy soft drinks and junk food. Similar bills were reviewed by eight state legislatures in 2012. None passed, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The federal government has never approved a waiver. Kennebec Journal

Legislative Research Commission gets acting director
The organization's board on Wednesday also voted to negotiate with the National Conference of State Legislatures to have an audit of the agency performed. The Business Journal

How Many Small Businesses Are Affected By Obamacare? Very Few
Specifically, research from the National Conference of State Legislatures, found that 94 percent of employers with 50 to 199 employees already offer health insurance to their workers, with 98 percent of those with more than 200 employees doing the same. Business News Daily

Bill would require job search by Maine welfare seekers
Nineteen states have enacted laws similar to Fredette’s proposal, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Press Herald

Oct. 2

Should Denver and New York City implement a plastic bag tax?
States may be next to get in on the action. Six states — California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington — considered statewide bans this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Eight states are considering fees or taxes on the bags. The Washington Post

New technology, politics and prices generate uncertainty for utilities
“We used to, 20 years ago, basically ask our power companies to crush rocks and make kilowatts. Now, we expect more of them; we expect them to be risk managers,” [Miles] Keough said at the four-day National Conference of State Legislatures held recently in downtown Atlanta. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/pressherald.com

Maine Republican leader seeks stiffer work requirements for welfare
Nineteen states have enacted laws similar to Fredette’s proposal, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. pressherald.com

Maine state Sen. Roger Katz named to national health care committee
State Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, has been appointed one of Maine’s representatives to the National Conference of State Legislatures Standing Committee on Health and Human Services. Bangor Daily News

Oct. 1

How shutdown is affecting Cincinnati, NKY
Across Ohio, the number of full-time civilian employees of the federal government is 48,500, the National Conference of State Legislatures estimates. The Cincinnati Enquirer

In Banking, Should There Be a ‘Public Option’?
With 12 bills introduced in 2013, other states could decide to follow the path that North Dakota’s legislature took in 1919. NCSL's Heather Morton in "Room for Debate," The New York Times

Scott Walker in talks with HMOs on shifting state employees to self-insured program
At least 20 states have self-insurance programs for all state employees, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Wisconsin State Journal

Lawmaker: Health care 'navigators' should pass background checks
He said the National Conference of State Legislatures has found that 23 states already have mandated background checks. azdailysun.com

Oklahoma Lawmakers’ Salaries Set For Review
Oklahoma is one of 19 states with compensation commissions designed to “…provide independent and impartial recommendations” on lawmakers’ pay, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). KGOU

Assault rifles for teachers? A plan in Georgia.
In 2013, seven states passed legislation permitting teachers or administrators to carry guns in schools and more than 30 state legislatures introduced bills that would permit staff members to carry guns in public or private schools, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Christian Science Monitor

Welcome to he US Gulf Coast, home of CO2 storage
Since 2010, legislatures in 8 different states have enacted 21 laws dealing with carbon capture and underground storage, according to the bill tracking database of the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Jamestown Sun

Governor explores self-insurance for employees
The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 20 states have self-insurance programs for their employees. AP/wqow.com

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