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.

Higher Education Funding

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) forecasted that redesigning higher education would be one of the Top 11 issues that state legislatures would grapple with during 2011 legislative sessions. After several years of cutbacks to help balance the budget, the state contribution to higher education is at such a low point that a new relationship between the state and public higher education is being formed. NCSL's FY 2010 and FY 2011 Trends in State Funding for Higher Education report provides an overview of funding for higher education. It also summarizes recent state actions to realign higher education funding in an environment of scarce state resources. Institutions want more flexibility; states want to link funding to results such as graduation rates. Raising tuition and cutting support for low-income and minority students are other possbile policy options states are considering. State institutions are also looking for alternative revenue sources, including tax increases, to prevent drastic cuts.


Same-Sex Marriage

This issue is being addressed by various states during this year. NCSL has a plethora of data that will give you a comprehensive timeline of significant same-sex marriage legislation and events since 2003. NCSL has a chart summarizing civil unions/domestic partnership state statutes along with links to state laws and a list of states offering benefits to same-sex partners of state employees.

Voter ID

Before your state's next election, find out if the laws regarding voter identification have changed. Since 2000, 27 states have enacted voter ID laws, nine of which ask for a photo. That number is likely to grow in 2011, since at least 14 additional legislatures are considering new voter ID requirements. Eight states that already have ID requirements are considering bills that would require the ID to include a photo. Request a copy of this NCSL LegisBrief or visit our website.

Census and Redistricting Profiles 

NCSL has created an interactive map that highlights detailed census data for each state from the U.S. Census Bureau. Click on a state to reveal the changes in  population, demographics and apportionment. NCSL will continuously update this interactive map to provide state-specific demographic information as soon as it is released. Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Dakota and Tennessee will be the next states to receive information.