STATE ACTION REQUIRED ON REMOTE SALES TAX COLLECTION. Continued congressional inaction to address the issue of remote sales tax collection may force states to consider alternative e-fairness measures. NCSL’s Task Force on State and Local Taxation (SALT) met in January to discuss state options to address Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that, unless Congress determines otherwise, prohibits states from requiring retailers without a physical presence to collect use tax. The end result was a letter to state legislative leaders from NCSL’s Executive Committee Officers and chairs of NCSL’s SALT task force urging “states to take action in their own legislative chambers to solve the remote sales tax collection problem.” The task force also reviewed a state legislative proposaltargeting expanded sales and use tax collection. Recommended options include enacting legislation with the intent to reverse the Quill decision by expanding a state’s definition of nexus to capture more remote business that would be required to collect and remit applicable taxes. NCSL staff contacts: Max Behlke,Neal Osten
NEW REAL ID TIMELINE. More than a decade after the REAL ID Act was enacted, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) earlier this month released an updated schedule for its final implementation phase. The law, which was originally recommended by the 9/11 commission, requires state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards to meet federal standards. DHS has determined that 23 states and/or territories are currently compliant with the REAL ID Act, 27 are not compliant but have an extension from DHS, and six are considered non-compliant. Beginning on Jan. 22, 2018, passengers with a driver’s license issued by a state that is not compliant with the law will need to show an alternative form of acceptable identification for domestic air travel to board their flight. DHS took part in a briefing (recording and accompanying PowerPoint slides) for state legislatures on Jan. 21 to provide an overview of REAL ID and its recent updated timeline. NCSL staff contact: Ben Husch, Molly Ramsdell
NAME OF DRONES. NCSL responded to an interim final rule issued by the Federal Aviation Administration on registration requirements for Unmanned Aerial Systems, better known as drones. NCSL called for states to have authority, if desired, to register and enforce the rule. A majority of states already have enacted or passed resolutions addressing these devices, covering perspectives on economic development, state regulation and use by law enforcement. NCSL staff contacts: Ben Husch, Melanie Condon
LAY TO WASTE. NCSL urged the Department of Energy (DOE), in its efforts to implement consent-based siting of disposal of spent nuclear fuel storage and high-level radioactive waste, to consult with state legislatures and provide fair and equitable compensation to states that host storage facilities. NCSL has closely followed this issue, having testified before Congress on several occasions and submitting letters urging the federal government to partner with state legislatures in developing policy to dispose commercial high-level radioactive waste. NCSL staff contacts: Ben Husch, Melanie Condon
ODDS AND ENDS. The president is expected to release his annual budget plan next Tuesday, with early reports indicating the nonbinding proposal will include new measures aimed at strengthening retirement accounts, changes to public assistance programs, and criminal justice reform. The House is expected to complete its budget resolution by the end of February. These budgetary frameworks come on the heels of a recent report released by the Congressional Budget Office that estimates that legislative action taken last year, notably the bipartisan budget agreement and tax extenders package, increased the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years. ... NCSL President Senator Curt Bramble is scheduled to testify on Thursday, Feb. 25, before the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management. The hearing, titled The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act: Opportunities for Improvement to Support State and Local Governments, will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of 1995’s Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and legislation pending in the Senate, the Unfunded Mandates and Information and Transparency Act (S. 189), which would improve analysis of federal mandates.
Capitol to Capitol is a publication of the National Conference of State Legislatures, the premier bipartisan organization representing the interest of states, territories and commonwealths. The conference operates from offices in Denver and Washington, D.C.