NCSL in the News | September 2018

9/1/2018

Sept. 27

Enforcing school bus stopping law would get an assist from stop-arm cameras
PennLive.com
At least 15 states already have school bus stop-arm camera laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

FCC Approves 5G Rollout-Related Reforms
Broadcasting & Cable
She pointed out that the National Governors Association, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and others had all opposed the item. Industry stakeholder reviews were laudatory, while cities echoed their ongoing concerns.

FCC limits fees cities can charge for 5G deployment
CNET
Rosenworcel said the FCC's actions on Wednesday could "undermine these agreements -- and countless more just like them." She noted that several municipalities across the country have asked the FCC to halt its actions. Specifically, she said the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures, as well as the United States Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties, and the Government Finance Officers Association have spoken out against what she called the FCC's invasive federal overreach. 

Sports leagues stand pat as legal gambling spreads
ESPN
On a Friday in mid-July, tucked inside a banquet room at a downtown Cleveland hotel, a veteran Las Vegas bookmaker addressed a national conference of state legislators weighing the virtues of legalized sports betting…Representatives for Major League Baseball and the NBA, along with the players' unions from the four major professional sports leagues, were also in the audience.

Mike DeWine misleads about Issue 1, the drug amendment in Ohio
PolitiFact
At least 11 states as of January 2018 have lowered some drug possession crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor, said Alison Lawrence, who tracks drug laws for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Plan to reduce size of General Assembly hits roadbock
Sunbury Daily Item
State lawmakers are also paid better than any of their peers, except those in California where lawmakers are paid $107,241 a year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

SDE DEPARTMENT FOCUSES ON STUDENT-CENTERED LEARNING
Bonner County Daily Bee
The National Conference of State Legislatures’ Student-Centered Learning Commission will be in Boise this week looking at Idaho’s mastery-based education program and visiting several schools in the Idaho Mastery Education Network.

Sept. 26

Retirement rule to the White House
Politico
“Eleven states have statutes that permit nonresidents, such as second-home owners or business owners, to vote in local, municipal, and/or special district elections," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, that includes "irrigation, water, sewer and conservancy districts.”

Timeline for Marijuana Legalization in the United States: How the Dominoes Are Falling
Yahoo Finance
Data sources: National Conference of State Legislatures, CNN.

High school students can pre-register to vote. This woman is making sure they do.
Merced Sun-Star
California is one of 13 states, plus the District of Columbia, that allows minors to register to vote beginning at 16, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Another four states allow pre-registration at 17.

California proposing financial aid to food insecure students
The Daily Titan
n Feb. 2018, California introduced the SB-1275 bill, which would reimburse public universities that provide student meal plans at no cost to Cal Grant students who attend school more than part-time, according to National Conference of State Legislatures, an organization that aims to improve and promote state legislature and policy.

Sept. 25

Businesses squirm at collecting sales taxes for others
The Union Leader 
“If I delivered something to the state of Maine I would have to collect Maine sales tax,” he said at a recent meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures. “Most businesses aren’t structured to collect sales tax. How do I know the sales tax in 10,000 jurisdictions?”

Safer Roads, Bigger Privacy Concerns: A Primer on Self-Driving Cars ...
IVN News
The National Conference of State Legislatures has an autonomous vehicles legislative database for keeping up with current state policies for driverless cars around the country. According to the NCSL, Nevada was the first state to legalize self-driving cars on public roads back in 2011, when the technology was already fit enough for a state to take this bold legislative step, and that was nearly a decade of technological progress ago. California and Florida legalized autonomous vehicles on public roads in 2012.

State of Wayfair: South Carolina Lowers Threshold; NCSL Speaks Up (CORRECTED)
Bloomberg Government
The National Conference of State Legislatures urged lawmakers not to advance federal proposals that seek to limit and delay the implementation of state economic nexus laws.

Online Tax Bill Will See Action This Year, Rep. Sensenbrenner Says
Bloomberg Government
Jake Lestock, a policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), said the organization and states are both concerned over unanswered questions present in Sensenbrenner’s bill.

Sept. 20

Senate passage of 'gag clause' ban is just a tiny step to lowering drug prices
SF Gate
As of last month, at least 25 states had enacted their own laws addressing gag provisions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

NCSL Slams Post-Wayfair Bill In Letter To Congress Leaders
Law360
The National Conference of State Legislatures in a letter to congressional leaders Tuesday opposed a bill that would delay states’ implementation of remote sellers’ sales and use tax rules for large sellers, and put implementation on hold indefinitely for smaller sellers.

The Future of 5G: The Bitter Battle for Local Control
Government Technology
As of early this summer, 20 states had enacted legislation aimed at facilitating 5G small-cell deployment, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In tax-free states, businesses squirm at collecting online sales taxes for others
The Virginian-Pilot
“If I delivered something to the state of Maine I would have to collect Maine sales tax,” he [Rep. Bill Hatch] said at a recent meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures. “Most businesses aren’t structured to collect sales tax. How do I know the sales tax in 10,000 jurisdictions?”

NO LINK BETWEEN TRANS-INCLUSIVE POLICIES AND BATHROOM SAFETY, STUDY FINDS
WXXV 25
North Carolina remains the only state to have successfully passed (and then subsequently repealed) legislation that restricted transgender people’s usage of sex-segregated public facilities, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Sept. 19

The Health 202: Senate passage of 'gag clause' ban is just a tiny step to lowering drug prices
The Washington Post
[Sen. Mike] Lee's amendment would have had states take the lead on banning gag clauses. As of last month, at least 25 states had enacted their own laws addressing gag provisions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

NCSL Slams Post-Wayfair Bill In Letter To Congress Leaders
Law360
The National Conference of State Legislatures in a letter to congressional leaders Tuesday opposed a bill that would delay states’ implementation of remote sellers’ sales and use tax rules for large sellers, and put implementation on hold indefinitely for smaller sellers.

In tax-free states, businesses squirm at collecting online sales taxes ...
Virginian-Pilot
“If I delivered something to the state of Maine I would have to collect Maine sales tax,” he said at a recent meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures. “Most businesses aren’t structured to collect sales tax. How do I know the sales tax in 10,000 jurisdictions?"

What Are Ballot Measures & Do I Need To Care About Them?
Bustle
You can use tools like the National Conference of State Legislatures’ statewide ballot measure database or the National Institute on Money in Politics’ ballot measures tool to look up which ballot questions you may encounter in November.

Wyoming lawmakers to talk corporate taxes ... again
Casper Star Tribune
Compared to other taxes paid by corporations, which can amount to up to 10 percent of their total revenues, state corporate taxes are often a minimal expense, averaging about 2 percent of a firm’s total revenues, according to Jackson Brainerd, a Denver-based researcher with the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Oklahoma cities passing zoning laws regulating medical marijuana
KOFR Oklahoma City
As a representative of the National Conference of State Legislatures told the group last week, ‘No two medical marijuana programs are alike.’ We can’t just cut and paste tidbits from other programs and expect them to work here.”

Sept. 18

In Tax-Free States, Businesses Squirm at Collecting Online Sales Taxes for Others
PEW Trusts
“If I delivered something to the state of Maine I would have to collect Maine sales tax,” he [Christopher Galdieri, St. Anselm College Professor] said at a recent meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures. “Most businesses aren’t structured to collect sales tax. How do I know the sales tax in 10,000 jurisdictions?”

DOE Awards Renewal of Grant to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)
Department of Energy (DOE)
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Environmental Management Consolidated Business Center (EMCBC) today issued a renewal Agreement to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Indiana set to host national legislative summit in 2020
The Statehouse File
The National Conference of State Legislators is coming to Indiana in 2020, the third time that the Circle City will host the gathering of lawmakers at the legislative summit. “The other two previous summits were outstanding successes and we are certainly anticipating this will be as well,” Kristin Shassetz, director of meetings for NCSL, told a panel of Indiana lawmakers Monday at the Statehouse. Shassetz was joined by Nancy Rhyne, deputy executive director of NCSL and Maren Patterson, fundraiser for NCSL, who were explaining the preparations that need to be made to host the national conference.

Sexual harassment policy gets a needed new look from the Nebraska Legislature
Omaha World Herald
In so doing, the Nebraska Legislature joined 13 other state legislatures in approving new or amended rules governing sexual harassment this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Ethics Commission Passes “Revolving Door” Rule Again
KGOU – NPR Oklahoma
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, all but nine states impose such restrictions.

Sept. 17

Bill would put brakes on U.S. states' rush to tax Internet sales
Reuters
Since the June 21 Supreme Court ruling, several states have already expanded taxation, with a few more scheduled to follow starting on Oct. 1, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

Election 2018-Vote-By-Mail story
San Francisco Chronicle
New Jersey is one of 27 states that permit voters to get mail-in — sometimes called absentee — ballots without any excuse, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Straight-Ticket Voting Option Blocked in New Mexico
Governing
NCSL Information Cited

Pa. lawmakers pushing for more open primaries
Altoona Mirror
NCSL Information Cited

Oversight committee serving as a model
Savannah Morning News
At the state level, I was pleased and grateful that our Legislative Oversight Committee, of which I am founding chairman, was recognized by the National Conference of State Legislatures and National Legislative Program Evaluation Society.

Louisiana women face challenge
American Press
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) reports only 14.6 percent of the 144 legislators in Louisiana are women — only 5 in the Senate (13 percent) and 16 in the House (15 percent).

Sept. 14

As Economy Booms, U.S. Cities Report Slowing Revenue Growth
Bloomberg
The previous inability to collect state and local sales tax on Internet retailers that didn’t have a fiscal presence in a state cost state and local governments an estimated $26 billion in foregone tax revenue in 2015, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures and the International Council of Shopping Centers.

Straight-Ticket Voting Option Blocked in New Mexico
Governing
The national trend in recent years among states is to do away with straight-party voting. Only nine states allow it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Legislators weigh methods for testing medical marijuana
The Journal Record
Karmen Hanson is the behavioral health program director at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Hanson ran through some of the policy highlights regarding marijuana in the 31 states that have legalized marijuana for medical use. “No two medical marijuana programs are alike,” she said.

New Mexico Supreme Court rejects automated one-party voting
Huntington Herald Dispatch
Just nine states allow the voting option, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Several states have abolished it since the 1990s. Most recently, Texas adopted legislation against straight-party voting that takes effect in 2020.

‘They Suspect Something Nefarious Is Going On’: New Jersey’s Vote-By-Mail Law Raises Concerns Over Confusion
CBS Philly
New Jersey is one of 27 states that permit voters to get mail-in — sometimes called absentee — ballots without any excuse, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Breastfeeding Awareness
ABC News WPBF
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 49 of the 50 states have legislation in place protecting (or at least allowing) breastfeeding mother's right to nurse their child where ever they please. Breastfeeding moms get more sleep. 

New vote-by-mail law in NJ raises concerns over confusion
PIX 11
New Jersey is one of 27 states that permit voters to get mail-in — sometimes called absentee — ballots without any excuse, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Sept. 13

New Mexico Supreme Court Rejects Automated One-Party Voting
U.S. News & World Report
Just nine states allow the voting option, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Several states have abolished it since the 1990s. Most recently, Texas adopted legislation against straight-party voting that takes effect in 2020.

“It is not a one-and-done effort,” Lawmakers discuss testing standards, regulations for medical marijuana
KFOR Oklahoma City
Karmen Hanson is a program director with the National Conference of State Legislatures. “We basically help state legislative bodies work better,” Hanson told News 4. “We are back-up researchers for them. For example, I study state health policy on behavioral health issues like cannabis, the opioid epidemic, cancer, tobacco, a wide range of issues.”

Bitcoin Tax Laws Virtually Nonexistent in States
Bloomberg BNA
Other states have also begun looking at sales tax calculations on Bitcoin, Heather Morton, program principal in fiscal affairs at the National Conference of State Legislatures, told Bloomberg Tax in an email.

New vote-by-mail law raises concerns over confusion
Bristol Herald Courier
NCSL Information Cited.

The Latest: New Mexico court hears arguments in voting case
Santa Maria Times
Only nine states allow it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Sept. 12

Hastings represents Illinois at voter security summit
Chicago Tribune
State Senator Michael E. Hastings continues to fight for fair and secure elections in Illinois and he recently represented the state at a bipartisan conference hosted by the National Conference of State Legislators to address the matter.

Oklahoma phasing in online voter registration
The Norman Transcript
As of December, 37 other states already offered online registration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

More states care what’s on the dinner plate as ‘food is medicine’ idea takes hold
Bryan-College Station Eagle
“We need to feed the children who are hungry now. We need the backpack programs in school, the free and reduced-price breakfast and lunches to make sure that nobody is hungry today,” said North Dakota’s Lee, chairwoman of the state Senate Human Services Committee, at a food is medicine session at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Hunger Partnership conference in July. 

Ex-felons in Florida could get their voting rights back sooner
CBS 47 Jacksonville
How voting rights restoration is treated is different in each state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Sept. 11

Oklahoma voters can now update some information online
Enid News & Eagle
As of December, 37 other states already offered online registration, according to National Conference of State Legislatures.

Kobach says campaign donation limits are ‘very low’ in Kansas
The Wichita Eagle
Kansas has one of the lowest contribution limits in the nation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

LAP AND SHOULDER SEAT BELTS REQUIRED ON ALL NEW SCHOOL BUSES
Montclair Local
New Jersey is one of eight states that requires school buses to have lap seat belts, according to the National Council of State Legislatures.

N.J. lawmakers want to protect residents from other states’ red-light camera fines
The Inquirer
In 2012, more than 530 communities used them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Sept. 10

After More Than 30 Years, the Leader of State Legislatures to Step Down
Governing
After leading NCSL for more than three decades, Pound tells Governing in an exclusive interview that he will step down by the time of the group's next annual meeting in August 2019. He will be leaving at a moment when the group faces a changing political landscape.

Take Two Carrots and Call Me in the Morning
Pew Charitable Trusts
“We need to feed the children who are hungry now. We need the backpack programs in school, the free and reduced-price breakfast and lunches to make sure that nobody is hungry today,” said North Dakota’s Lee, chairwoman of the state Senate Human Services Committee, at a food is medicine session at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Hunger Partnership conference in July. 

Cooper: Abortion vs. fetal homicide
Chattanooga Free Times Press
At least 38 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, have fetal homicide laws that define the fetus as a person deserving of rights and protection. 

Murphy, Assembly speaker say $15 minimum wage bill coming
New Jersey Herald
California, Massachusetts and New York have laws that call for phasing in a higher rate until it reaches $15 an hour, along with the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Ballot case has special master; former state Court of Appeals Judge picked
Arkansas Online
The strictest term limits are 12 years for state lawmakers in California and Oklahoma, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Voter ID featured in Amore's election security plan
The Salem News
Massachusetts is one of 14 states that doesn't have a voter identification law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, though some voters can still be asked to present ID in special circumstances. 

Pennsylvania should weigh cash bail merits
Altoona Mirror
California’s law will go further than other states’ measures by officially ending cash bail rather than just halting its use in most cases, according to Amber Widgery, a senior policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Every vote counts, so vote absentee
The State Press
Wendy Underhill, the director of elections and redistricting in Arizona for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said every vote counts.  

Sept. 7

New Jersey workers could soon have a $15 minimum wage
WPIX 11 New York
California, Massachusetts and New York have laws that call for phasing in a higher rate until it reaches $15 an hour, along with the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

La. Excludes Tropical Storm Aid From State Income Tax
Law 360
NCSL Information Cited.

Electric bicycles race ahead of city and state rules
Finger Lake Times
Nine other states have enacted similar laws —three just this year —including Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee and Washington, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

NY could become first state to require up to 12 weeks of paid bereavement leave
NY Upstate
For now, Oregon is the only state in the nation that entitles employees to take paid bereavement leave for the death of any family member, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Groups ask court to disqualify Arkansas term limits proposal
Ozark Radio News
Oklahoma and California currently have the strictest term limits, restricting legislators to a total of 12 years in their legislatures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Most Washington schools are failing to meet state's target for vaccinations
KING5 News
Washington is one of 18 states that currently allows parents to refuse to vaccinate their children for reasons other than religious practice, according to a 50-state analysis of data tracked by the Immunization Action Coalition and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Sept. 6

Pain at the Prescription Counter: How to Reduce What You Pay for Drugs
U.S. News & World Report
This incident and others have prompted a flurry of state-level legislative activities – 357 bills in 47 states in the first five months of 2018 alone – directed at pricing and payment, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Will States Allow Districts to Arm Educators Using Federal Funds?
Education Week
Currently, 19 states allow anyone with permission from school authorities to carry a weapon on K-12 school grounds, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Texas occupational license deregulation: more work to come?
Weatherford Democrat
The non-partisan National Conference of State Legislatures analyzed occupational-licensure cost/benefits and found that while the intent is to safeguard public health and safety and protect consumers with educational requirements and industry oversight, there can be a downside.

Kansas’ Unmatched Tracking Of Ex-Convicts Attracts One Legal Challenge After Another
HPPR
The Kansas News Service reviewed statutes from the 19 states that, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, have expanded beyond the traditional role of offender registries.

Senator Daniels, Paxton Attend Election Cybersecurity Conference
Bartlesville Radio
State Senator Julie Daniels and Senator Lonnie Paxton were chosen by Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz to attend the forum, which was sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Sept. 5

Push to further deregulate Texas occupational licensing continues
Gainesville Daily Register
The non-partisan National Conference of State Legislatures analyzed occupational-licensure cost/benefits and found that while the intent is to safeguard public health and safety and protect consumers with educational requirements and industry oversight, there can be a downside.

Kansas’ unmatched tracking of ex-convicts attracts one legal challenge after another
Wyandotte Daily
The Kansas News Service reviewed statutes from the 19 states that, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, have expanded beyond the traditional role of offender registries.

Senators Daniels and Paxton attend conference on election cybersecurity
Claremore Daily Progress
State Sen. Julie Daniels and Sen. Lonnie Paxton were chosen by Senate Pres. Pro Tempore Mike Schulz to attend the forum, which was sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

With new proposal, trauma-informed care could become standard in Pa. schools
WHYY
Plus, they have the ideological wind at their back. A 2017 review by the National Conference of State Legislators found a spike nationwide in legislation related to trauma-informed care.

Sept. 4

Tattoo Industry Wins Over Millennials
Wall Street Journal
NCSL Information Cited.

New Guide on State Data Breach Laws
Government Technology
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), legislation has been enacted by all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands that requires private entities or government agencies to notify individuals who have been impacted by security breaches that may compromise their personally identifiable information.

Electric Bicycles Race Ahead of City and State Rules
Government Technology
Nine other states have enacted similar laws — three just this year — including Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee and Washington, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

After a Virginia Beach councilman voted to appoint his mom to a powerful board, some question the practice
The Virginian-Pilot
Many states have laws that restrict lawmakers from hiring or appointing relatives, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

What does a lottery mean for education?
Clarion Ledger
A 2017 brief from the National Conference of State Legislatures reports education receives the majority of dedicated state lottery revenues.

Kansas’ unmatched ex-convict registry attracts legal challenges
The Garden City Telegram
The Kansas News Service reviewed statutes from the 19 states that, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, have expanded beyond the traditional role of offender registries.

GOP, Libertarians sue to stop sec. of state’s single-party ticket voting
Los Alamos Monitor
Still, straight-party voting is a vanishing practice. Nationwide, only nine states allow it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

California Assembly passes state net neutrality law
UPI
Governors in six other states have protected net neutrality by executive order, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.