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.

School Bus Safety

A new school year has kicked off and millions of children rely on school buses to transport them to and from school and school-related activities. Six states have passed some variation of a seat belt law for school buses but funding has not been appropriated in some states. In 2009, eight states introduced bills that would require school buses to have seat belts installed; none of the bills passed. More


NCSL has launched a new blog just in time for the 2010 election season, Prop*50. This interactive site covers ballot measure issues and election news from across the country. More. In addition, NCSL's blog, The Thicket, will continue to provide the latest legislative news and issues facing state legislators. More

Right to Hunt and Fish

Ten states guarantee the right to hunt and fish in their constitutions, with Vermont's language dating back to 1777. Four states have measures on the 2010 ballot to enshrine the right to hunt and fish in their state constitutions. More

Back to School

Each year, about 1,200 state legislators grab their notebooks, classroom handouts and educational videos and head off to school. Lawmakers of both political parties visit classrooms in elementary, middle and high schools across the country to talk about the legislative process and bring civics to life for students as part of the America’s Legislators Back to School Program. This program was founded in 1999 as a one-day activity as part of the Trust for Representative Democracy at NCSL. Since then, the program has grown to a year-round event. Reporters may contact the Back to School coordinator in their state to find out which state legislators plan to participate in the program. More

State Pension Plans

This issue has captured headlines across the nation. NCSL has several pieces of information to help reporters as they cover this story. Our Pensions and Retirement Plan Enactment in 2010 State Legislatures publicatication summarizes selected state pension and retirement legislation enacted from January through September 2010. It will show you how states have addressed pension issues that could arise in any state. In addition, our State Defined Contribution and Hybrid Pension Plans document outlines significant changes states have made to their pension plans. And we have a series of videos from our 2010 Legislative Summit in Louisville that feature experts and a round-table discussion on the challenges facing state pension funds. More

NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.