The NCSL Blog

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VOLUME 42, No. 9

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FEATURES

October-November 2016 State Legislatures coverBETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE: LEGISLATORS NAVIGATE ELECTION 2016
By Daniel Diorio and Tim Storey
How this year’s wild race for the White House will effect state legislative contests is difficult to predict.

VOTERS FACE BOUNTY OF BALLOT ISSUES
By Wendy Underhill and Princess Umodu
In November, citizens will determine much more than who the next president will be.

WHO'S WATCHING THE KIDS?
By Julie Poppe and Robyn Lipkowitz
Low-income parents face the threat of falling off child care assistance with a raise or promotion.

IT'S ALL RELATIVE
By Megan McClure
Serving with a family member presents both challenges and opportunities.

DEPARTMENTS

SHORT TAKES ON NCSL NEWS

What essential summer event brought together legislators and staff from all 50 states and offered policy sessions, speakers and exhibits galore? NCSL’s 2016 Legislative Summit in Chicago, of course. ★ A look ahead to this month’s Capitol Forum in Washington, D.C. ★ Staff analysts and researchers quoted in the news

STATESTATS

A Snapshot of Rural America: Population loss along with higher poverty rates and lower educational attainment than urban areas are very real problems, but there are bright spots.

NEWSMAKERS | WHAT LAWMAKERS ARE DOING AND SAYING

Leadership changes in Alabama, Kansas and Wyoming ★ Legislator by day, Uber driver by night: how one Illinois representative copes with the state’s budget impasse.

TRENDS IN STATE POLICY NEWS

Smile, the Camera’s on You: Lawmakers weigh opportunities and challenges of fast-developing facial recognition technology.

Help for the Homeless: States are strengthening efforts to get at-risk residents into safe housing.

Legal Smoking Age Up: The list of cities and states raising the age to buy tobacco to 21 is growing.

Hope in Not-Yet-Approved Drugs: Right to Try laws can offer medication options to terminally ill patients.

Policing the Polling Place: Who’s qualified to be a poll watcher depends on the state.

A Firearms Census: The number of registered guns—excluding handguns—in every state.

STATELINE | LEGISLATIVE NEWS IN BRIEF

Partisanship in U.S. courtrooms ★ The rise of straight-ticket voting bans ★ A spike in traffic fatalities ★ No-cash policies among retailers

TOOLBOX

Three tips for smoothing out the sometimes rocky relationships between nonpartisan and partisan staff.

YES, NO, MAYBE SO | ETHICS IN THE WORLD OF STATE GOVERNMENT

Constituents deserve to know the real you, and colleagues need to be able to trust the real you.

THE FINAL WORD

Meet Raúl E. Burciaga, Director of the New Mexico Legislative Council Service and NCSL Staff Chair

“The staff is usually in the best position to help new legislators understand the importance of not giving away legislative power.”

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.