us census bureau worker collecting address data on a laptop computer in august 2019

A Census Bureau field worker collecting address information in August 2019. The big news this week was the bureau’s announcement that its delivery of 2020 census data would be delayed.

First Branch News: NCSL’s Weekly Roundup of Legislative Headlines

Compiled by Gene Rose | Jan. 29, 2021 | State Legislatures Magazine

First Branch News is NCSL’s weekly roundup of legislative headlines from news sources across the country and throughout the territories.

The major news for legislatures this week was the announcement from the U.S. Census Bureau that the data from the 2020 census, which states use to drawing congressional and legislative district maps, won’t be ready until the end of April. NCSL held a timely webinar on Wednesday to discuss the topic.

COVID-19 and Legislatures

The Nevada Legislature will limit public access to the Legislative Building during the 2021 session. Utah opened its Capitol to the public this week. The New Mexico House announced that its sessions will be conducted by Zoom this year. The Rhode Island House cancelled a session this week “out of an abundance of caution.” The Connecticut General Assembly is learning how to function in a pandemic. Oklahoma lawmakers will consider virtual meetings when they convene next week. The Alabama House will take a two-week break after it convenes Feb. 2. The Florida senate president does not expect the Capitol to be open to the public and lobbyists until after the legislative session ends. A staffer in Maine who was in the statehouse has tested positive for COVID-19.

Legislatures in the News

North Carolina residents may now watch House proceedings online. A proposal offered in the Arizona Senate would create extra seats in the House. The Indiana General Assembly is considering several bills to restrict the governor’s emergency powers, as are lawmakers in Arizona and South Carolina. State Legislatures magazine previewed tensions between the state legislative and executive branches earlier this year. The Alaska Senate announced its leadership team this week. Idaho lawmakers won their battle to remove the state treasurer’s offices from the Capitol.

Legislators and Staff in the News

Three Montana legislators are under the age of 25, making the Treasure State one of only two with legislators who belong to Generation Z (those born from 1997 to 2012). Read an interesting profile of Mat Bahl, the chief of staff for Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R). Maine Senate Majority Leader Nate Libby (D) announced he will give up his post this session. California Senator Scott Wilk (R) was named Republican leader. Here’s a peek at new principal clerks and secretaries in 2021.

News From the NCSL Online Newsroom This Week

Articles from news sources curated in First Branch News are provided for information purposes only and do not reflect NCSL views.

Gene Rose is NCSL’s communications director.

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