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NCSL in the News September 2013

NCSL in the News Archives

NCSL in the News: September 2013

Sept. 25

Jerry Brown signs bill to raise California minimum wage
California is one of 18 states and the District of Columbia that have minimum wages above the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and California's $10 minimum is likely to be among the highest in the nation in 2016. Sacramento Bee

W.Va. lawmakers hear marijuana presentation
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 20 states and the District of Columbia permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Marijuana is still outlawed under federal law, however. AP/Herald-Dispatch

After high-profile breach of the Oregon State Capitol, officials consider safety vs. accessibility
By nearly every measure, the research from the National Conference of State Legislatures shows the Salem landmark at the forefront of accessibility — something Oregon leaders take pride in. Statesman Journal

Data show Ore. Capitol more open than many
The paper gathered information from the National Conference of State Legislatures after a demonstration last week raised security questions. Springfield News Sun

CA Minimum Wage Will be $10 BY 2016
California is among many states with a minimum wage above the federally mandated minimum wage of $7.25, but has a lower minimum wage than some states including Oregon, Washington and Illinois, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bay City News/KRON

Director of Legislative Research Council resigns
The review, which included a survey of 18 senators and 32 House members, was conducted this year by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Aberdeen News

In many state legislatures, it wouldn’t take much to make Ted Cruz stop talking
For many state legislative bodies, the party in power can quash a filibuster with relative ease. The rules are hard to come by—and understand—but fortunately for us a Connecticut legislative analyst compiled a comparative table in July 2009, based on data from the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. It’s not exactly hot off the presses, but such procedures aren’t changed often either. The Washington Post

Florida needs complete ban on cellphones while driving (Opinion)
In California and New York, there is a complete ban of all mobile devices for drivers, and this has been demonstrated to be very effective according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Oracle: University of South Florida

Sept. 24

W.Va. House GOP leader: Abortion fight not over
In the past few years, nearly half the nation's states have passed laws prohibiting abortion coverage in health insurance plans offered by the new state exchanges, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/Atlanta Journal Constitution

US state tax revenues hit record highs in second quarter
 Strip away the federal tax changes and California's tax hike and the current revenue trend can be summarized as "slow and steady,'' said Arturo Perez, a National Conference of State Legislatures analyst. In a survey NCSL released last month, state lawmakers said they expected revenue collections to increase less in fiscal 2014, which for most started on July 1. Reuters/CNBC

Rep. Nadeau chosen to serve on legislative effectiveness panel
Nadeau was chosen the week of Sept. 16 by the National Conference of State Legislatures to serve on the committee, according to a press release from the Maine House Republicans. St. John Valley Times

Photo ID requirements rain on National Voter Registration Day
Thirty states currently have laws in place requiring voters to show identification at the polls, (11 require photo ID,) according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and more look to be on the way. MSNBC

Seeking more early childhood funding
At least 15 other states are using Medicaid funds to pay for various aspects of home visiting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Albuquerque Journal

Tennessee Department of Children’s Services Three Branches Institute Addresses Child Safety, Juvenile Justice
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. Clarksville Online

Midwestern undergrads against concealed carry on campus, study says
All 50 states have some form of a concealed carry law, with Illinois becoming the last state to adopt such a law in July. 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. Marquette Tribune

Slashing $39B in food aid could cost states
"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. Salt Lake Tribune

Sept. 23

Recall elections unlikely in Wyoming
And the National Conference of State Legislatures reports that Wyoming is among the 31 states that do not allow recalls of legislators or statewide officials. Wyoming Tribune-Eagle
 
Gay-marriage battle puts county clerks on front lines
Twenty-nine states have constitutional amendments defining marriage as between a man and a woman while six others have laws that do so, said Jack Tweedie, director of the National Conference of State Legislatures children and families program. Columbus Dispatch
 
House passes bill aimed at reforming food stamp program
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of 2013, at least 29 states have introduced legislative proposals requiring drug testing or screening for public assistance applicants or recipients. Herald Standard
 
Investigators see promise in Iowa's new DNA law
41 states collect DNA from those convicted of at least some misdemeanors, such as lesser examples of sex crimes or assaulting a police officer, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which has offices in Denver and Washington. The Salinas Californian
 
Early childhood series: Part 1 – Breaking the cycle
After cuts during the recession-battered years of the Richardson administration, New Mexico subsequently boosted early childhood investment and ranked among the top states with the highest percentage increase of spending on child care, prekindergarten and home visiting in 2012-2013, according to a survey of 21 states by the National Conference of State Legislatures. ABQJournal
 
Students speak up against cyber harassment
According to National Conference of State Legislatures, 40 out of 50 states have laws specific to cyber harassment.  Idaho is not one of those states, but cyber harassment is definitely present in Idaho. Arbiter Online
 
Study of Legislature’s operations to be delivered
Three members of the National Conference of State Legislatures staff conducted the study at the request of the board. Rapid City Journal 
 
Medical marijuana gaining traction in WV
On Wednesday, Karmen Hanson, health program manager for the National Conference of State Legislatures, will discuss with Simon how other states have approached legalizing medical marijuana before the Joint Committee on Health. Charleston Daily Mail 
 
AG: Gay marriage is a ‘civil rights’ issue
Twenty-nine states constitutionally limit marriage to between a man and a woman, and 13 states allow for same-sex marriage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. ABQJournal
 
Midlands Voices: Health care law can help many
The writer, of Omaha, is a state senator representing District 7 in the Nebraska Legislature. He is a former chairman of the Health Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Omaha World-Herald
 
States Look to Reduce Part-Time Lawmakers’ Bias
Conflicts of interest aren’t inherently bad, argues Peggy Kerns, who oversees ethics research at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Kerns was a member of the Colorado House of Representatives in the 1990s and says she appreciated when lawmakers came from industry-specific backgrounds. Governing
 
Measure would make hunting and fishing a right
Thirteen states guarantee the right to hunt and fish in their constitutions, with Vermont's language dating back to 1777, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California and Rhode Island have language in their constitutions guaranteeing the right to fish, but not to hunt, according to the NCSL. Lincoln Journal Star
 

Sept. 20

House food stamp bill would shift burden for the poor to the states
In May, the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures argued that a similar proposal would increase administrative costs for already cash-strapped states. “This limitation in categorical eligibility would increase state administrative costs in SNAP and significantly curtail state flexibility,” the NCSL wrote in the letter. By forcing states to determine eligibility separately, the House bill creates new costs they must bear, the organization argued. The Washington Post

Term limits: The promises vs. the record
Highlights from "Coping with Term Limits A Practical Guide" By Jennifer Drage Bowser, National Conference of State Legislatures. Chicago Tribune

Tracking gifts to legislators
Interested in gift disclosure laws in other states? Check out the National Conference of State Legislatures. fredericksburg.com

SRU weighs in on Edinboro’s deficit
The National Conference of State Legislatures released a report this summer showing that state general fund spending on higher education grew 5.1 percent for higher education. The Rocket

Nevada Today: 'Late Night with a Legislator'
The President of the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Nevada Senate Assistant Majority Leader, Senator Debbie Smith of District 13 will be present. unr.edu

A Royall legacy
Nearly a quarter-century ago, Ken Royall and some of his legislative colleagues recruited a talented staffer from the National Conference of State Legislatures who was a computer genius, and got him to move to North Carolina. rstreet.org

Going to the cloud vs. doing it in-house
In the U.S., 46 states have enacted separate legislation with regard to disclosure of security breaches of personal information (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2013), though details vary widely by state and no federal legislation exists as of early 2013 (aside from HIPAA, which only pertains to health information). tmcnet.com

311 Immigration Laws Approved in the U.S., Texas with Most Approved Legislations in Favor of Undocumented Immigrants
In the first 8 months of 2013, 311 immigration laws were approved in 43 states in the United States, revealed a recent report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. However, the organization pointed out that not all of these laws have been made to "punish" undocumented immigrants in the country. latinopost.com

Cracking the code on cyber crimes
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that 46 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands all have individual legislation requiring notification of security breaches that involve personal information. destinationcrm.com

Sept. 19

Corbett stumping for Medicaid plan
That concept -- asking Medicaid recipients to take more personal and financial responsibilities -- is a national trend, said Melissa Hansen, a program principal on Medicaid issues for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "The idea of personal responsibility, broadly -- increased co-pays, the idea of showing up to appointments -- these are things that many states are looking at, how to engage Medicaid recipients in their own care," she said. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Goodlatte's online sales tax principles revive House debate
State officials say few residents pay the taxes, costing states  about $23.3. billion in 2012 sales tax revenue, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Huffington Post

Mich. lawmakers: Do community service or lose welfare
At least eight states — Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah — have passed legislation on drug testing for public-assistance applicants or recipients though not all are in effect, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Detroit Free Press/USA Today

The latest Governmental Accounting Standards Board rules on pension reporting make it clear that funding decisions are in the hands of local decision-makers
Fortunately, a “Guide for Elected Officials” has just been issued by a host of well-respected organizations, including the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Association of Counties and the National League of Cities. Governing

Advocates quietly challenge voter ID law
The new measure would have counted Wisconsin among nearly three-dozen states with voter ID laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Florida Courier

Quand les États-Unis arment leurs professeurs
Sur les six derniers mois, une trentaine d'États ont lancé des projets de loi pour autoriser le port d'armes dans les écoles, selon la National Conference of State Legislatures. Le Point

Sept. 18

Key House chairman backs Internet sales tax bill — with provisions
“We’re very pleased by the leadership Chairman Goodlatte is showing on this important and bipartisan issue,” said Neal Osten, director of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Washington, D.C. office. Stateline

With change approaching, U-M has no plans to track number of undocumented students
Sixteen states have allowed in-state tuition rates for immigrants since 2001, including 14 that passed laws explicitly authorizing the moves, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/CBS Detroit

Muni investors: time to get back to fundamentals
Between 2009 and 2011, 43 states enacted some sort of pension reform, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. EFT Daily News

Lithuania's Speaker meets with representatives of U.S. legislative organization
On Friday, Lithuania's Speaker of the Seimas Vydas Gedvilas met with the representatives of the U.S. National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). The Baltic Course

Sen. Rolfes appointed to National Conference of State Legislatures committees
Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Kitsap County, has been appointed to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Natural Resources & Infrastructure and Education committees. Bainbridge Island Review

The city's news -- emergency response
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that six states -- including Missouri -- keep 911 audio confidential, while five other states place some restrictions on the release of such audio. Urban Tulsa Weekly

Sept. 17

Shooting repoens stalled debate over access to guns for mentally ill
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, almost every state is looking into some aspect of beefing up their mental health care laws. About two-dozen have introduced legislation this year. Fox News

Food stamp battle comes to House floor this week
In May, the National Conference of State Legislatures wrote to Congress to warn, "This limitation in categorical eligibility would increase state administrative costs in SNAP and significantly curtail state flexibility. This proposal would require states to redetermine eligibility for SNAP," which would create a costly new burden for state agencies. USA Today

Boehner, Cantor ask U.S. AG Holder to reconsider Louisiana vouchers lawsuit
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, vouchers currently exist in 13 states and the District of Columbia. The Times-Picayune

Louisiana tax department won't recognize same-sex marriages
At least 13 states allow same-sex marriages, while another 35 prohibit them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. watermarkonline.com

Familiar names populate the Forbes' list of 400 richest Americans
In this July 21, 2009 file photo, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates makes remarks at the National Conference of State Legislatures held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. AP/Colorado Springs Gazette

Chicken cage compromise is not radical: Our view
The issue will likely come to a head in the next few weeks as Congress tackles two versions of the mammoth farm bill. King's amendment, already added to the House bill, is opposed by the National Conference of State Legislatures and more than 150 House members. USA Today

Sept. 16

California Set to Raise State Minimum Wage
No other state has set its minimum wage at $10 an hour. But 10 states index theirs to the consumer-price index and several could be near $10 by 2016, depending on inflation, according to Jeanne Mejeur of the National Conference of State Legislatures. That includes Washington, which currently has the highest state minimum wage at $9.19 an hour. The Wall Street Journal

Should state funds cover online classes? Many not sure
The issue of funding online schools is "huge" and "ongoing," says Sunny Deye, a senior policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. She says, for most states, the focus is on online high school education. USA Today

Pennsylvania state legislators debate generic biological medications
State regulation of biosimilars has been the subject of 30 bills or resolutions this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Proposals in five states -- Florida, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah and Virginia -- have become law, while California legislators have sent a bill to the governor. Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Immigration Roundup: A California Law License for Undocumented Immigrants?
A Sept. 11 report from the National Conference of State Legislatures says state lawmakers have passed more immigration bills and resolutions in the first half of 2013 than in all of 2012. BNA

Sacramento, Not Washington, Sets Pace for Immigration Reform
A new study released this week by the National Conference of State Legislatures' Immigration Policy Project found that 43 states and the District of Columbia have enacted 146 laws and 231 resolutions related to undocumented and legal immigrants, migrants, and refugees during the first half of this year -- an 83 percent increase from the first half of 2012. The Huffington Post

311 Immigration Laws Approved in the U.S., Texas with Most Approved Legislations in Favor of Undocumented Immigrants
In the first 8 months of 2013, 311 immigration laws were approved in 43 states in the United States, revealed a recent report by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Latinospost

State university system's draft weapons policy not a lock, but loaded with controversy
Colorado and Oregon also allow firearms on campus, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. PennLive.com

The Risks of Relying on User Fees
The National Conference of State Legislatures warned about this more than a decade ago when it stated, “If user charges exceed the cost of providing services, or if separate accounting is not used, governments are vulnerable to court rulings that such charges are taxes.” Governing

Illinois Mom Outraged To Be Told 'No Breastfeeding' At YMCA Pool, Despite State Law
Illinois is one of forty-five states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands that have laws on the books specifically allowing women to breastfeed in any public or private location, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Huffington Post

Sept. 12 & 13

U.S. Education Law Needs Updating Badly, Say State and Local Officials
"State governments, localities, and schools need a long-term resolution for the issues raised by the current federal education law, the No Child Left Behind Act," write the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the National League of Cities, the National Association of State Boards of Education, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and four other groups, in a letter sent to Senate leaders today. Education Week

Midwest College Students Strongly Oppose Guns On Campus: Survey
So far this year, at least 19 state legislatures have introduced bills to allow concealed carry on campus in some capacity, with just two of those bills passing, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Huffington Post

Most States’ School Funding Tumbles Since Recession, Study Finds
Arturo Perez, a budget analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver, said states are putting more money into education, a fact that’s obscured by adjusting for inflation. States are increasing spending this year on public schools by 2.4 percent. “The Great Recession had a significant impact on programs across the board,” Perez said. “It’s been a long, slow climb out.” Bloomberg Businessweek

Letter to the editor: Lawmakers’ stand on clean energy is important
I attended the National Conference of State Legislatures recently as a member of the Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee. The Jamestown Sun

As More States Legalize Online Gambling, It Will Become Safer
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Texas are working to legalise online gambling this year. The Business Insider

Survey says students oppose guns on campus
At least 19 states introduced laws in 2013 to allow concealed-carry on campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Two passed. Courier-Journal

Dem. governor wins on big vetoes in controlled GOP Legislature
All but four states now have single-party control of their legislatures, the highest amount in three decades, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/The Daily Statesman

Number of immigration measures passed by U.S. states jumps in 2013: report
The National Conference of State Legislatures said lawmakers in 43 states and the District of Columbia enacted 146 laws and 231 resolutions related to immigration, an 83 percent increase from the 206 laws and resolutions enacted in first half 2012. Reuters/Chicago Tribune

Tax cut supporters plan to continue efforts
A recent report from the National Conference of State Legislatures highlighted income tax cuts adopted this year in Iowa, Maine, Ohio, North Dakota and Wisconsin, which have come in addition to more substantial tax code reforms in North Carolina and Kansas. St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Legislator pay varies greatly across nation
According to the latest salary breakdown compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, the annual base salary of a Bayou State lawmaker is $16,800. St. Charles Herald Guide

Missouri lawmakers fail to revive bill preventing federal gun law enforcement
Lawmakers introduced similar measures in about 30 states this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters/Yahoo! News

Lawmakers Return to Immigration Work
The number of immigration-related measures signed into law increased 28 percent in the first six months of this year, compared to the same time last year, reported the National Conference of State Legislatures. Stateline

Sept. 11

Immigration legislation booms in state capitals
Through the end of June, 43 states and the District of Columbia had passed a total of 377 laws and resolutions related to immigration, according to a report to be issued Wednesday by the National Conference of State Legislators’ Immigration Policy Project. The Washington Post

Colorado Lawmakers Ousted in Recall Vote Over Gun Law
Colorado is one of 19 states where voters can recall state officials, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and no evidence of fraud or official misconduct is needed to gather the signatures necessary to schedule a special vote. The New York Times

Concealed carry handguns should not be on college campuses, students say
Ohio is among 49 states that have concealed carry weapons laws and also among 22 states that ban carrying a concealed weapon on a college campus, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Cleveland Plain Dealer

(Opinion) Kelsh: Take natural gas collection seriously
I attended the National Conference of State Legislatures recently. As a member of the Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee, I had the opportunity to visit with other legislators from across the country and Canada. Dickinson Press & Advertiser

Colorado Senate President John Morse, state Sen. Angela Giron ousted
They ran the gamut, from New York's limit of seven rounds per magazine to Arkansas' Church Protection Act, giving places of worship the authority to allow guns on their premises, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Julesburg Advocate

More Lawmakers are Getting Pink Slips from Voters
Since states first started adopting recall procedures about a century ago, voters have ousted 21 state lawmakers before their terms ended, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Wall Street Journal

Florida Supreme Court takes Expedia online hotel fee case
Florida hotels recently gained a new ally in the battle with online travel companies, with The National Conference of State Legislatures, a Denver, Colo.-based group that directly consults with U.S. policymakers, has now sided with hotels saying state leaders should clarify their tax laws and require online travel companies like Expedia and Orbitz to pay back taxes not charged on transactions. The Business Journal


Sept. 10

Colorado recall a proxy in national gun control debate
Since the recall tactic was first used in Los Angeles in 1903, the effort has mostly been used at the municipal or local level, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. CNN

Pennsylvania lawmakers eye stronger ethics rules
"You don't want the public to look suspiciously on actions that the legislator does in influencing public policy," said Peggy Kerns, a former Colorado lawmaker who's now director of the Center for Ethics in Government at the National Conference of State Legislatures. timesonline.com

Internet Sales Tax
The National Conference of State Legislatures, a major proponent of Internet sale taxes, estimates that tax losses from uncollected sales taxes in 2012 were $26 billion. Delta Business Journal

Common Core rift confronts Gov. LePage
Other Republican governors -- six according to the National Conference of State Legislatures -- have appeased the resistance by delaying implementation of Common Core. Portland Press Herald

In new battleground over toxic reform, American Chemistry Council targets the states
In Iowa, several other toxic reform bills failed to move forward in recent sessions, an environmental health legislation database maintained by the National Conference of State Legislatures shows. philly.com

Putting ads on school buses?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 10 states currently allow advertising on the exterior of school buses. Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, Texas and Utah allow ads on the outside of school buses. GPB News

N.J. Lawmakers Pass Christie Changes to Pot-for-Tots Bill
Twenty states allow medical-marijuana use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg

(Blog) Gun Rights Attorney: Missouri Law Illustrates Limits, Excesses of Nullification
Nevertheless, in addition to the 37 states pondering laws to nullify federal firearms oversight, the National Conference of State Legislatures says nullification is now being used in many other federal-state disputes. Outdoor Life

The nasty, ineffective world of politics
Davante Lewis is only 19 years old, but already a three-year veteran of Louisiana politics. His early political experience came about through the Louisiana Legislative Youth Advisory Council, which got its start in 2007 as a way to introduce high school students to politics, and was later embraced by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) as part of a larger program to bring students and politics together. Governing

Sept. 9

NY effort to reveal pols' law clients has backing
Twenty other states require lawmakers to divulge at least some of their private law and consulting clients, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/The Wall Street Journal

Amazon lobbies heavily for Internet sales tax
The uncollected sales taxes from online and catalog vendors cost states $23.3 billion in 2012, including $541 million in Washington, according to estimates by the National Conference of State Legislatures. State and local revenue directors are firmly on the side of Amazon and other retail giants. The Seattle Times

New federal education standards come under growing state attacks
Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin this year halted or delayed implementation, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. The Buffalo News

Mo. lawmakers vow veto showdown with governor
"A caucus will rarely vote completely as a bloc. Having just enough makes it more difficult," said Karen Shanton, an analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures who focuses on supermajorities. AP/Post-Journal

NY commission's effort to reveal pols' private clients supported by Bar, is law in 20 states
Twenty other states require lawmakers to regularly divulge at least some of their private clients from the legislators' business, law and consulting firms, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. They are Alaska, California, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. The Republic

Utah officials say welfare drug tests save money
Utah is one of at least eight states that have passed legislation requiring drug testing or screening for public assistance applicants. Similar laws were proposed in at least 29 states this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Cache Valley Daily

Va. leads in fighting Medicaid fraud (Opinion)
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

Presidents are supposed to enforce law, not break it (Opinion)
During the National Conference of State Legislatures, Sebelius told them, "This is no longer a political debate. This is what we call the law." The Sun Gazette

Utah's welfare drug testing saved more than $350,000 in first year, officials say
Utah is one of at least eight states that have passed legislation requiring drug testing or screening for public assistance applicants. Similar laws were proposed in at least 29 states this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/Deseret News

PolitiFact Florida: As tax collections grow, Scott gives undue credit to his policies
Most states returned to or exceeded 2008 revenue levels by the 2012-13 fiscal year, said Todd Haggerty, policy analyst for the fiscal affairs program at the National Conference of State Legislatures. The growth continued for 33 states in 2013-14, though at a more modest clip. Tampa Bay Times

No Tennessee plans for same-sex benefits
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ website, 18 states and the District of Columbia currently grant health benefits to public employees in same-sex relationships. Chattanooga Times Free Press

'Under God' likely to remain in pledge despite latest challenge, attorney says
Michigan was just catching up with the rest of the country by passing the law, joining at least 37 other states that place similar requirements on public schools, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. NBC News

Amazon lobbies for Internet sales tax
The uncollected sales taxes from online and catalog vendors cost states $23.3 billion in 2012, including $541 million in Washington, according to estimates by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Yakima Herald Republic

More parental involvement is encouraging sign
In the US, exact practices vary from state to state, but most states require parental involvement in sex education programs and 35 states and the District of Columbia allow parents to have their children opt-out, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Global Times

Missouri governor bucks trend, campaigns for tax-cut veto
Missouri lawmakers are not alone in trying to reduce taxes this year. About $1.3 billion in tax cuts were approved by states in 2013, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Global Post

LePage now disavows Common Core
Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin this year halted or delayed implementation, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. Morning Sentinel

Holder energizes W.Va. marijuana supporter
Speakers at the Sept. 25 meeting will include Karmen Hamson, a representative from Colorado on the National Conference of State Legislatures, who has become a specialist on medical marijuana laws across the country, and Matt Simon, legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project and a West Virginia University graduate. Charleston Gazette

In wake of Nikko Jenkins case, changing 'good time' sentencing law debated
The good-time law isn't unique to Nebraska. Alison Lawrence, a senior policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said 32 states offer inmates good-time credit. The laws are designed to reduce prison populations and save money, she said. Omaha World-Herald

Black legislative caucus identifies priorities
Martha King of the National Conference of State Legislatures highlighted the Affordable Care Act, and said many aspects of the law will need to be considered by legislators. Chicago Sun-Times

Sept. 6

Lessons learned: states focus on rainy day funds, smaller workforces
In addition, at least 27 states require deposits into the reserve fund when revenues exceed a certain measure, according to Todd Haggerty, policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Stateline

Rick Scott says next year's record tax collectioins result of 'conservative, pro-growth policies'
Most states returned to or exceeded 2008 revenue levels by the 2012-13 fiscal year, said Todd Haggerty, policy analyst for the Fiscal Affairs program at the National Conference of State Legislatures. The growth continued for 33 states in 2013-14, though at a more modest clip. PolitiFact Florida/Tampa Bay Times

Slowing the revolving door
No other state has a revolving door gap longer than two years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. witf.org

'Whiskey plates' in Minnesota
Under Ohio law, judges in that state can also impound license plates of vehicles registered in the name of someone convicted of DUI. Ohio drivers in this situation are issued "party plates," which are bright yellow with red lettering, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. abajournal.com

Sept. 5

How Mississippi turned $3.5 million into $80 million
Earlier this year, the resource group the National Conference of State Legislatures reported that only half the states expected to end the 2013 fiscal year with at least as much revenue as they hauled in FY2008, “while many others do not expect a return for at least three years or longer.” The Washington Post

Lacking state policy, local politics test the promise of wind energy in Oklahoma
In the meantime, the wind industry is eyeing sites near already existing electrical infrastructure. That means wind farms will be closer to people — and potential conflict, says Glen Andersen, the Energy Program Director at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “As it expands into suburban settings it can create challenges for communities and also the state in regulating and promoting renewable energy,” he says. KGOU

Should Oregon require welfare applicants, recipients pass drug tests? (poll)
As of mid-April, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah had passed legislation requiring public assistance applicants and recipients take drug tests, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a Colorado-based bipartisan professional group that aids lawmakers. The Oregonian

Coloradans can vote early, vote often in recall election on gun opponents
At least six states — Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin — are fighting lawsuits claiming that requiring photo identification amounts to voter suppression, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Washington Times

Common-core standards have Tea Party seeing U.S. school takeover
Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin this year halted or delayed implementation, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg Businessweek

Data is in: Drug screening of welfare applicants is a mixed bag
Rep. Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, sponsored HB155 last year, placing Utah among eight states that now link welfare assistance to drug testing in some way. The National Conference of State Legislatures website notes that 29 more states might follow suit. The Salt Lake Tribune

McCrory delays DSS drug testing
At least eight states have passed similar legislation and laws have been proposed in at least 29 states this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. hpe.com

(Commentary) A liberal's view of the most recent legislative session
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, seven other states with Republican governors – and most with GOP legislatures – also cut taxes significantly. Beaufort Observer

Sept. 4

Washington's proposed pot plan allows 334 retail shops
Nineteen states allow medical use of marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg

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. Governing

Federal judge: Ohio officials must OK 2nd gay marriage
Same-sex marriage throughout the country map. Source: National Conference of State Legislatures. USA Today

N.D. has 'castle doctrine'
The National Conference of State Legislatures says North Dakota is one of at least 22 states with laws that provide civil immunity in certain cases of self-defense. Bismarck Tribune

Sept. 3

Schools spend millions to beef up security
At least 33 states introduced bills permitting teachers and administrators in public schools to carry guns in 2013. They ranged from allowing school districts to set their employee carry policies, to creating “school sentinel” programs, to allowing teachers to carry a concealed weapon on school grounds if they have a permit, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a non-governmental organization. lohud.com

4 of 5 BCS colleges toughen policies after Penn State sex-abuse scandal
The AP also referred to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which has tracked Sandusky-related bills. AP/nbcnews.com

A mayor wise beyond his years
Elected officials in New York are most likely to be middle-aged: the youngest member of the state's congressional delegation is 37, and according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, just 1 percent of New York state lawmakers are under 34, compared with 4 percent nationally. Albany Times Union

Do You Need a License to Sell Scrap Metal?
In 2011, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported on the nationwide theft problem of metals, particularly copper, due to the increasing value of the metals to scrap metal dealers. azcentral.com

Minors In Texas Will No Longer Be Allowed To Use Tanning Beds
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, exposure of ultraviolet (UV) light is found more commonly during childhood, which increases the chances of skin cancer later in life. CBS 7 News

(Editorial) Haley: More lawmakers need to attend more national forums
The real issue is that taxpayer money is now being used, with rare exception, for lawmakers to only attend dogma-based conferences (primarily hosted by ALEC), while rejecting conferences by decidedly more neutral organizations that offer legislators real world research and mainstream national policies; including the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the Council of State Governments (CSG). Hays Post

State demands 6% take from 12-year-old’s roadside fruit stand
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Idaho had about $103 million in uncollected sales tax revenue in 2012 because of online purchases in the state. Idaho State Journal

Are Michigan hospitals, physicians ready for Medicaid expansion?
"Despite some of the rhetoric in Washington, the cost outlook for Medicaid is as strong as it's been in a long time," said federal Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, addressing the 2013 legislative summit of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Advisor & Source Newspapers

Alborn: Anderson Keen on Veterans Issues, Enjoys Front Porch Conversations  
“In my capacity as a member of the Executive Committee (national governing body) of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and membership in its Task Force on Military & Veterans Affairs,  I spend a lot of time talking about veterans.”  Potomac Local News

Obamacare Provokes 21 States Into Banning Abortion Coverage By Private Health Insurers
Before the enactment of Obamacare, only five states had laws restricting insurance coverage of abortion: Idaho, Kentucky, Missouri, North Dakota and Oklahoma, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Huffington Post

Minimum wage hike faces steep hill in Congress
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 18 states and the District of Columbia have a minimum wage higher than the federal level of $7.25.  BenefitsPro

Homes for $1, in a city on the ropes
Indiana is one of 21 states that does not allow its cities to file for bankruptcy protection, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Worcester Telegram & Gazette

The Benefits of Aging in Place
Almost 90% of people over 65 want to live in their home and community as long as possible, according to a report by the AARP Public Policy Institute and the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Kiplinger

Editorial: Walmart is Now More Progressive Than 32 U.S. States, But That's Not Saying Much
That makes one aspect of Walmart more progressive than the governments of 32 states, where, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, state employees cannot obtain benefits for same-sex partners.  PolicyMic
 

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