Capitol Ideas is a periodic listing of story ideas and background information from new NCSL research. For more information, contact NCSL's Press Team.
May = Fitness
May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month and state legislators are not sitting on the couch. Across the country, policymakers are helping Americans be active through policies that:
- Provide opportunities for physical activity and education in schools;
- Develop walking trails, bike paths, sidewalks and green space; and
- Support community designs that make being physically active an easy choice.
NCSL has a wide range of resources available on our website that address physical activity and healthy communities, including 2009 childhood obesity state legislation and healthy community design legislation that encourages bicycling and walking.
Protecting Your Social Security Number
A patchwork of federal laws provide regulation of personal information, but there is not one law that governs the use of Social Security numbers (SSN). SSNs have been widely available and, until recently, states have printed them on driver’s licenses and health care organizations have used them on insurance cards. SSNs also often appear on financial documents and court records. But concerns continue that the availability of SSNs is encouraging more identity theft and fraud. Studies have shown that identity thieves often use valid SSNs to commit crimes. To combat identity theft, state legislators have introduced legislation to restrict the availability and use of SSNs, but these actions are not without controversy. NCSL is tracking legislation introduced in 37 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, regarding the use and regulation of Social Security numbers. Twenty-three states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have passed legislation or resolutions. More
NCSL released its findings on the changes state legislatures are making to retirement and pension plans. This preliminary report of state pensions and retirement legislation provides a snapshot of the legislative activity. The final report will not be released until this summer after most legislatures complete their sessions, but this version shows the significant retirement legislation states have already enacted in 2010. More
Federal Health Reform and the States
As states move toward implementing sweeing federal health reform, NCSL is tracking a variety of issues of concern to states. Additionally, many state legislatures and governors are setting up the infrastructure to phase in various aspects of the new law. And lawmakers in 39 states have proposed legislation to limit, alter or oppose selected state or federal actions. For a complete overview of health reform, check out NCSL's resources. More
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