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 Combat Drugged Driving

This NCSL LegisBrief explains the laws on drugged driving in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Although they differ from state to state, this year alone more than 30 bills related to drugged driving have been introduced. Seventeen states have made it illegal for drivers to have any prohibited drug or substance in their bodies while driving. In these states, it is not necessary to prove the drug impaired the driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle; the presence of the drug in the body is enough for a conviction. More. Credentialed members of the media may request a copy of the LegisBrief from our press room.

Sex Offender Legislation

NCSL has created a database that reporters can use to track  sex offender laws by state. As of February, at least 165 bills in 31 states had been introduced. The legislation varies, including bills that comply with SORNA (Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act) requirements in the Adam Walsh Act, restrictions on where or when certain sex offenders can vote, live, work and volunteer, and which offenses by state require a person to register as a sex offender.  More

Same Sex Marriage

So far this year, lawmakers in Washington and Maryland  have passed legislation allowing same-sex marriages, but the laws have not yet taken effect. In California, a federal appeals court found the state's restriction on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, but has postponed enforcement, pending appeal. Several states have also expanded the legal rights available to partners in same-sex relationships by allowing civil unions and domestic partnerships, while also limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples. More

Parent Trigger Laws

"Parent Trigger" laws are based on the belief that if a school is performing poorly, parents should be given the rights and the power to change it. This may invovle firing teachers or adminstrators, converting it into a charter school, or even getting the school shut down. As of January 2012, more than 20 states have considered--and six have enacted--some version of a parent trigger law. Each law is a little different, but there are some common provisions. More