Hot Topics and Features

Hot Topics and Features

NCSL tracks perennial criminal justice issues, and also provides information and analysis on current hot topics of interest to lawmakers and their constituents, including issues like unmanned aircraft systems; synthetic drug threats; overdose immunity; juvenile life without parole; death penalty; and how state sex offender registration laws are adapting to federal requirements and other issues.

Issues covered here:

Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), also commonly called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones, and their technological enhancements have captured the attention of government officials, the media and the general public. State lawmakers are actively addressing questions about their use by law enforcement, potential economic benefit and impact on privacy.  (More)

Drug Overdose Immunity

States have enacted laws providing immunity for some persons who call 911 or seek other help in an overdose situation.  (More)

Mandatory Life Without Parole Sentences Held Unconstitutional for Juveniles in Miller v. Alabama

On June 25, 2012, the United States Supreme Court, in Miller v. Alabama, ruled that imposing mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole on juveniles violates the Eight Amendment of the United States Constitution.  (More)

Death Penalty

Capital punishment issues are of perennial interest to state legislators. In recent years, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico and New Jersey have abolished their state’s death penalty. Other states continue to debate many capital punishment issues including, whether it is fairly administered, whether the appeals process is too lengthy, whether it is worth its cost of implementation and what methods of execution are used.  (More)

Sex Offender Policies

Title I, Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) provisions of the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety, set many federal requirements of states. Compliance deadline was July 27, 2011 and penalty of 10 percent reduction of federal law enforcement assistance grants.  (More)

An NCSL database reports sex offender enacted legislation.  (More)

Other Issues:


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