Capitol Ideas

Capitol Ideas is a periodic listing of story ideas and background information from new NCSL research. For more information, contact NCSL's Press Team.

State Tanning Laws
NCSL has released new data on state indoor tanning restrictions for minors. The report includes all legislation introduced by states from 2009-2012, as well as a 50-state map comparing laws across states.  Currently, California bans the use of tanning beds for all minors under 18, and at least 31 states regulate the use of tanning facilities by minors. More

Safe Passing Laws
States have recently taken an interest in laws regulating how motorists pass bicyclists on the road. As of July 2012, 20 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws requiring motorists to observe a cushion of three feet while passing a bicycle. In 19 other states laws stipulate that motorists must pass at a “safe distance.” NCSL breaks down all the statutes and provides a 50-state map comparing safe passing laws. More

Summit Resources
Couldn’t make it to one of our more than 150 policy sessions at the 2012 Legislative Summit? No problem. NCSL has posted links and resources for many of our sessions, including agendas, presentations, and speaker biographies. Check back frequently as new material is added daily. More

August LegisBriefs
NCSL recently published four new LegisBriefs on emerging state issues.

  • “Primary Care and Public Health Working Together” explores efforts to increase coordination between primary care and public health providers.

  • “Performance-Based Funding for Higher Education” examines state efforts to reform state education funding by focusing on student achievement, rather than student enrollment.

  • “Managing Transportation Demand: HOV and HOT Lanes” investigates how states are making the most of existing infrastructure and leveraging limited resources to address traffic congestion.

  • “Securing the Nation’s Energy Future” examines the integral role states play in responding to and preventing power shortages, disruptions and emergencies.

To obtain a free copy of any of these briefs, reporters may email the NCSL Press Room (