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.

States Look to Strengthen Mandatory Child Abuse Laws

As state legislatures begin their 2012 sessions, many lawmakers are looking at ways to strengthen their child abuse laws. Forty-one bills in 14 states have been introduced so far in the 2012 legislative sessions on reporting suspected child abuse and neglect. States pass new laws each year on various aspects of child welfare, reporting child abuse requirements being one of them. Although NCSL tracks legislation on this issue, it does not track the reasons for legislation being introduced, such as the recent events at Penn State University. More

States Look at Changes to Presidential Primaries

Presidential candidate nominating events are primaries in some states and caucuses in others. They began in Iowa on Jan. 3, and will end in Utah on June 26, 2012. This year's "Super Tuesday" falls on March 6, when 14 states will hold presidential primaries or caucuses. States are looking at the cost of holding presidential primaries and what changes can be made to save money. NCSL has two tables that list the state primaries alphabetically and chronologically.

Lawmakers Hammer Against Metal Theft

Soaring prices for copper, aluminum and other nonferrous metals make these items an attractive target and have thieves risking their lives to strip the metals from homes, utilities and electrical factilities. To improve enforcement, state lawmakers are considering increasing penalties and creating more detailed databases on scrap metal sellers. Legislation has been introduced in every state and enacted in all but two. In the last two years, 18 state legislatures have passed bills on scrap metal that creates increases penalties for violators (five states); propose specific payment methods (two states); require detailed recordkeeping or databases on sellers (nine states); address dealer licensing (five states); or enhance identification requirements for scrap metal sellers (four states). Members of the media can receive a free electronic copy of NCSL's LegisBrief on metal theft by contacting NCSL's Public Affairs department. More

How Many Women Serve in Your State Legislature?

Did you know that 1,739 women served in state legislatures at the beginning of the 2012 legislative sessions. Women hold 23.6 percent of all state legislatives seats nationwide. This is a slight decrease from the 2010 sessions' ratio of 24.5 percent. NCSL's interactive map will help reporters illustrate  how many women serve in their state legislature. More