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.

State Cigarette Excise Taxes: 2010

NCSL tracks cigarette excise taxes, including new taxes that went into effect on July 1 in Hawaii, New Mexico, South Carolina and Utah. Our chart can help you with your next story. More

July First = New State Budgets

Forty-six states began their new fiscal year (FY) on July 1, 2010.  To date, 31 states have enacted budgets for FY 2011. An additional 16 states passed biennial budgets during 2009 legislative sessions. California and New York are the only states that have missed passing the budget by the start of FY 2011 (Michigan has yet to enact a budget and has a fiscal year beginning on October 1). More 

Fairness to Main Street

State legislators applaud steps taken by U.S. Congressman William Delahunt to provide a possible additional revenue stream that could help close budget gaps in FY 2012. More

State Funding for Higher Education in FY 2009 and FY 2010

State funding for higher education is heavily influenced by the states’ fiscal situations, reflecting a cycle unique to higher education. Higher education typically takes a disproportionate hit when state fiscal conditions are weak, but experiences more robust increases when state budgets recover. This happens, in part, because elected officials often feel colleges and universities can find other sources of income, such as tuition, to compensate for reduced state support. This is not an option available to other state services.  Download the full report on our website.

State legislation on cadmium in children’s jewelry and toys

What is cadmium? It's a toxic metal sometimes found in consumer products for sale in the United States. This month, McDonalds announced a recall of 12 million drinking glasses due to cadmium concerns. Twenty bills in nine states aim to regulate cadmium in children’s jewelry and toys. Bills in Connecticut and Illinois have recently passed the legislatures. More

2010 Oil Drilling Legislation

While some states have banned oil drilling, others permit it off their coastlines to encourage economic development and to bolster tax revenues. A number of coastal states are considering legislation in response to the April 2010 explosion of British Petroleum Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig. Louisiana, North Carolina, New Jersey and South Carolina have introduced bills relating to oil spill clean-up plans, recovery for damages and moratoriums on offshore drilling. More

NCSL's Legislative Summit

Reporters are still welcome to register for NCSL's 36th annual Legislative Summit in Louisville, Ky., July 25-28. More than 150 policy sessions on some of the most pressing issues facing states will take place at the Louisville Convention Center. Members of the media can register online through July 13, 2010. After that, they must register onsite in the Press Room, room 113 at the Convention Center. Press badges are required to attend NCSL meetings. Please feel free to read NCSL's Media Policy before registering.