In the News | August 2021

8/9/2021

Aug. 31

New polls suggest broad support for Democrats' voting rights bills
NBC News
Slim majorities of voters support allowing all voters to cast a mail ballot in Alaska, Maine, Montana, Nevada and Pennsylvania, even though all five states have no-excuse absentee voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
COVID Spurs Education Savings Account Bills in MO, 4 Other States
Yahoo News
The tumult caused when the pandemic forced classes to go online made the idea of education savings accounts much more acceptable than before, said Michelle Exstrom, program director at the National Conference of State Legislatures. As options such as homeschooling and learning pods gained popularity, parents and legislators “opened their eyes to different choices.”
 

Aug. 30

As Washington Stews, State Legislatures Increasingly Shape American Politics
The New York Times
“From where I stand, they have a far greater impact on the life of ordinary citizens than Congress,” Tim Storey, the executive director of the National Conference of State Legislatures, said of the state-level bodies.
           
Democrats Are Now Open To New Voter ID Rules. It Probably Won't Win Over The - NPR
NPR
Eleven states, many with state legislatures mostly controlled by the GOP, have strict voter ID laws, while an additional 24 have less stringent laws requesting an ID to vote, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Democrats fought those requirements tooth and nail, usually with limited results.
 
New polls suggest broad support for Democrats' voting rights bills
NBC News
Slim majorities of voters support allowing all voters to cast a mail ballot in Alaska, Maine, Montana, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, even though all five states have no-excuse absentee voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In Arizona, where most receive their ballots in the mail each election, 63 percent of voters said they supported all voters having the same option.
 
Expressway shootings on rise in Chicago area
Herald & Review
At least 16 states have legislation that regulates use of plate readers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Many of the states restrict how long law enforcement can keep data from the readers.
 

Aug. 27

Marijuana Legalization Continues to Grow: 2021 Laws Map
Governing
There are 36 states and the District of Columbia that allow medical-use marijuana, while 11 states permit high cannabidiol (CBD) and low THC level products for medical reasons in limited situations or as a legal defense. According to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), these “low THC, high CBD” programs are not considered “comprehensive” cannabis programs.
 
Fact check: Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy makes at least 5 false claims in 7-minute Fox News interview
CNN
For absentee ballot applications in particular, the Democratic bill says that states can't require any form of identification except for a signature or "similar affirmation." It says, though, that this policy has "no effect" on ID requirements for first-time voters registering by mail. And as the National Conference of State Legislatures notes on its website, state voter ID requirements generally don't apply to mail-in or absentee ballots anyway.
 
White populations decline, POC immigration increases Nebraska growth
News Channel Nebraska
"This affects local communities, not just the state," said Wendy Underhill, the Director of Elections and Redistricting at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Diversity is growing in Nebraska, according to the team at UNO's Center for Public Affairs Research. They're analyzing the most recent census data to see how it's redefining the population landscape. "I do expect this to change districts," Underhill said.
 
Effort to recall Alaska governor dropped after 2-year push
Anchorage Press
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, two governors have been recalled by voters — California Gov. Gray Davis in 2003 and North Dakota Gov. Lynn J. Frazier in 1921. 
 
ND redistricting task getting underway
Knox Radio
Ben Williams of the National Conference of State Legislatures told committee members that North Dakota has been adjusting boundaries since the 1960’s.  “The Supreme Court did not answer the question whether or not other methods other than total population are acceptable for redistricting.  What it said was it is an acceptable method.”
 

Aug. 26

Effort to Recall Alaska Governor Dropped After 2-Year Push
U.S. News & World
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, two governors have been recalled by voters — California Gov. Gray Davis in 2003 and North Dakota Gov. Lynn J. Frazier in 1921.
 
Data breach at Cal State Chico reveals vaccine exemptions - Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
The Cal State COVID-19 vaccination policy allows students and employees to seek religious exemptions, which are not permitted in California’s K-12 education system, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Alabama medical marijuana availability may take longer than expected
AL.Com
Alabama this year became the 37th state to legalize medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Virginia, an 'outlier' on campaign finance reform, considers new restrictions
The News & Advance
Christi Zamarripa, a policy associate with the National Conference of State Legislatures, set out to give the panel some perspective.
Among the 40 states that limit how much money an individual can donate to a candidate, the caps on donations in legislative campaigns range from a high of about $13,700 in Ohio to a low of $180 in Montana. The median of such limits is about $2,800, Zamarripa said.
 
Deadline Will Freeze Out Some Eligible Boston Voters
NBC Boston 
In May, Sen. Cynthia Creem of Newton said she thinks "the stars are aligned" to enact same-day registration, a policy already in place in 20 other states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 

Aug. 25

Covid-19 Rekindles Debate Over License Requirements for Many Jobs - WSJ
The Wall Street Journal
More than 1,100 occupations are licensed in at least one state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Last year, 29 million workers, nearly a quarter of those employed full time, held a license, the Labor Department said. In the 1950s, about 5% of workers had licenses, according to researchers.
 
Data breach reveals Chico State students seeking vaccine exemptions on religious grounds
LA Times
The Cal State COVID-19 vaccination policy allows students and employees to seek religious exemptions, which are not permitted in California’s K-12 education system, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
N.Y. politician proposes COVID vaccine mandate for school kids - NY Daily News
New York Daily News
Currently, a number of other states have taken the opposite approach with lawmakers pitching bills that would limit requiring someone to demonstrate their vaccination status or even barring schools from mandating inoculations for kids, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
           
Virginia, an 'outlier' on campaign finance reform, considers new restrictions
Richmond.com
Christi Zamarripa, a policy associate with the National Conference of State Legislatures, set out to give the panel some perspective. Among the 40 states that limit how much money an individual can donate to a candidate, the caps on donations in legislative campaigns range from a high of about $13,700 in Ohio to a low of $180 in Montana. The median of such limits is about $2,800, Zamarripa said.
 

Aug. 24

Civil rights groups hail court ruling they say will allow tens of thousands of ex-felons to cast ballots in North Carolina
CNN
Twenty states automatically restore felons' voting rights once they are released from prison, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Two additional states -- Maine and Vermont -- never strip convicted felons of the ability to vote.
 
Election security or voter suppression: What's in the GOP-backed election bill - Dallas Morning News
The Dallas Morning News
The bill would add new requirements for mail-in voting in a state with some of the strictest laws already on the books. Texas is one of 16 states nationwide that limit who can vote by mail, instead of opening it to everyone, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The only people allowed to vote absentee in Texas are those who are 65 and older, sick, disabled, in jail or out of the county on Election Day.
 
Virginians don’t have to show ID to vote anymore. Data shows almost everyone still does.
Virginia Mercury
A total of 36 states have laws requiring or asking voters to show identification at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, though the fate of North Carolina’s photo ID law is unclear due to ongoing litigation over whether it has a racially discriminatory impact.
 
Legislators begin redistricting process
Sublette Examiner
Ben Williams with the National Conference of State Legislatures said Wyoming’s is the most common type of redistricting system, where the Legislature has a committee that drafts a bill, which is then voted on by both chambers and signed by the governor.
“That is the case in 35 states for legislative district lines,” Williams said. “Some of those states have an independent committee review, but in the end, the Legislature has the final say.”
 

Aug. 23

N.J. Pot Sales to Start Within 180 Days, Years After Murphy Vow - Bloomberg
Bloomberg
Eighteen U.S. states have legalized pot for adult recreational use as of July 6, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a Washington-based lobbying group.
 
Backers, opponents of Nebraska voter ID petition aren't aware of any impersonation cases
Lincoln Journal Star
Thirty-six states have laws that request or require voters show some type of identification to vote, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Census in Action: Legislators begin redistricting process
Sheridan Press
Ben Williams with the National Conference of State Legislatures said Wyoming’s is the most common type of redistricting system, where the Legislature has a committee that drafts a bill, which is then voted on by both chambers and signed by the governor. “That is the case in 35 states for legislative district lines,” Williams said. “Some of those states have an independent committee review, but in the end, the Legislature has the final say.”
 
Enough North Carolina Senators Agree Sports Gambling Bill Is Good Bet
WUNC 91.5
At least 20 states and the District of Columbia offer sports betting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Interest took off after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2018.
 

Aug. 20

N.J. Pot Sales to Start Within 180 Days, Years After Murphy Vow
Bloomberg
Eighteen U.S. states have legalized pot for adult recreational use as of July 6, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a Washington-based lobbying group.
 
U.S. Jobless Claims Fell to Pandemic Low of 348,000 Last Week
Wall Street Journal
NCSL Information Cited
 
Thursday panel discussion topic covers redistricting
Powell Tribune
Panelists for this discussion include Joint Corporations Committee Co-Chairman Rep. Dan Zwonitzer, R-Cheyenne; House Minority Caucus Chairman Rep. Mike Yin, D-Jackson; Marguerite Herman from the Wyoming League of Women Voters; and Ben Williams, a redistricting expert from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
 
Enough North Carolina Senators Agree Sports Gambling Bill Is Good Bet
WUNC 91.5
At least 20 states and the District of Columbia offer sports betting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Interest took off after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2018.
 

Aug. 19

Alaska lawmaker critical of state move in campaign caps case
The Seattle Times
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 11 states imposed no contribution limits on individual donors as of 2019, the most recent year for which they had information.
 
Progress on prison gerrymandering on the horizon for Montana redistricters
Missoula Current
A useful example is Illinois, said Ben Williams, a program principal with the National Conference of State Legislatures, at a round-table discussion on the subject during Tuesday’s meeting. He said in general, an urban center in the U.S. tends to have a higher proportion of minorities than rural areas in the U.S.
 
“In Illinois, you have one very large urban metropolitan area … and then a relatively rural midwestern state,” said Williams. “If you think about it, it’s very advantageous to the state of Illinois to place its prisoners in rural areas … but the number of inmates, because of policing disparities, may predominantly come from Cook County and the city of Chicago. So if you have you have a predominantly urbanized inmate population held in predominantly rural prisons, and they are counted as being non-voting residents of the rural area on census day, that can create a racial disparity as well as a population disparity in those rural districts, where you may have a large prison and a relatively low number of voters.
 
Jobless Claims Likely to Fall as Labor Market Withstands Delta Variant
The Wall Street Journal
NCSL Information Cited
 
Democrats Will Soon Play Texas Fold ’Em
Wall Street Journal
NCSL Information Cited
 
Pa. state government, school retirees have company in longing for cost-of-living adjustments
Penn Live
More than 30 states have suspended, reduced or eliminated “COLAs” since 2009, according to testimony offered by a representative of the National Conference of State Legislatures on Wednesday. The reason was summed up in five words by NCSL retirement policy analyst Anna Petrini: “These can be expensive benefits.”
 

Aug. 18

The census shows how the US is diversifying – will it lead to political power?
The Guardian
In state capitols across the US, the overwhelming majority of state lawmakers are white, according to a 2020 survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Suit: Changing prisoner count weakens rural, GOP districts - - CBS19 News -
CBS19 News
The lawsuit also comes at a time when a small but growing number of states have modified how they count prisoners when drawing up political districts. Virginia is one of 11 states that have made a change, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Committee to look at changing state employee retirement system
Bismarck Tribune
A representative of the National Conference of State Legislatures told the committee that a number of states and other political subdivisions have made changes in their retirement plans. NCSL Director of Employment, Labor and Retirement Programs Luke Martel said options range from defined contribution plans to hybrid plans. "There's no 'one size fits all' solution for sustainable retirement benefits," he said.
 
How redistricting will unfold across the country
Washington Examiner
Republicans control 30 state legislatures while Democrats control just 18, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures . 
 

Aug. 17

Suit: Changing prisoner count weakens rural, GOP districts
The Washington Post
The lawsuit also comes at a time when a small but growing number of states have modified how they count prisoners when drawing up political districts. Virginia is one of 11 states that have made a change, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Biden wants a national efficiency standard. Would it work?
E&E News
At the state level, Texas in 1999 under then-Gov. George W. Bush (R) became the first to adopt an energy efficiency resource standard (EERS), according to data collected by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Lawsuit: Changing Virginia’s prisoner count weakens rural, GOP districts
AP
The lawsuit also comes at a time when a small but growing number of states have modified how they count prisoners when drawing up political districts. Virginia is one of 11 states that have made a change, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
How redistricting will unfold across the country
Denver Gazette
Republicans control 30 state legislatures while Democrats control just 18, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. One legislature, in Minnesota, is split, and members of Nebraska's unicameral legislature are elected on a nonpartisan basis and thus aren't typically counted in such assessments of partisan control.
 
A trial this week could give voting rights to felons in North Carolina
Charlotte Observer
In 11 states, committing some crimes can cause people to lose their right to vote indefinitely, possibly forever. In two states, people never lose their right to vote, even while in prison. But in the majority of states — including North Carolina — the rules fall somewhere in the middle, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 

Aug. 16

Marginalized Groups Look to Get on the (Redistricting) Map
New York Times
Based on data from the National Conference of State Legislatures, Asian Americans — who helped fuel the country’s growth in the past decade, according to the census — are one of the most underrepresented groups in state politics, with a share of state legislative seats less than one-fourth their share of the U.S. population.
 
How redistricting will unfold across the country
Yahoo News
Republicans control 30 state legislatures while Democrats control just 18, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. One legislature, in Minnesota, is split, and members of Nebraska’s unicameral legislature are elected on a nonpartisan basis and thus aren’t typically counted in such assessments of partisan control.
 
Sale of Medical Cannabis is Legal on Cherokee-Controlled Tribal Land.
The Charlotte Post
As of May, there are 36 states and four territories where medicinal cannabis is legal, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Eighteen states, two U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia have passed legislation to regulate cannabis for recreational use. North Carolina is one of 14 states where marijuana sales – medical or recreational – are prohibited.
 

Aug. 13

Marginalized Groups Look to Get on the (Redistricting) Map
NY Times
Based on data from the National Conference of State Legislatures, Asian Americans — who helped fuel the country’s growth in the past decade, according to the census — are one of the most underrepresented groups in state politics, with a share of state legislative seats less than one-fourth their share of the U.S. population.
 
Raising dropout age will be beneficial to students
Brunswick News
A task force put together by the National Conference of State Legislatures on preventing school dropouts in January 2011 said that “evidence suggests that raising the maximum compulsory school age above 16 curtails dropout rates and produces other positive results.”
 
Census shows population surge in Mass., but Berkshire County, cities decline

Berkshire Eagle
The redistricting data released Thursday gets down to the individual census block, counts only residents (the apportionment data also includes "federally affiliated" people living overseas), and includes race, ethnicity and some housing information. It became available Thursday in what the bureau called a "legacy format" that states, redistricting software vendors and groups like the National Conference of State Legislatures are familiar with.
 
Harrisburg police charge teen in fatal shooting of 16-year-old in backyard
Penn Live
Pa. is one of 20 states that exclude certain serious crimes from the jurisdiction of the juvenile system, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Will drivers of electric vehicles need to pay a fee or tax?
FOX 23 Maine
28 states have laws requiring special fees on hybrid and electric vehicles according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, fees range from 50 to 225 dollars.
 

Aug. 12

Private School on a Budget: How To Make It Happen
Yahoo Finance
 According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of January 2017, 17 states had scholarship tax credit programs in place.
 
All California Teachers Must Be Vaccinated or Tested Weekly for Covid-19
Wall Street Journal
NCSL Information Cited
 
“It’s put a lot of states into a pickle: Census delays have thrown redistricting calendars into chaos’
Des Moines Register
NCSL Information Cited
 
Census data delivery to trigger delayed Iowa redistricting
Radio Iowa
The National Conference of State Legislatures has more information about the [redistricting] process here.
 

Aug. 11

State Higher Ed Funding Looks Positive
Inside Higher Ed
As the pandemic raged on, experts feared that the higher education sector would once again see declines in state support for fiscal year 2022, which began in July. Every state except for Vermont is required by law to balance their budgets, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Higher education is often one of the first budget items to see cuts during periods of economic decline. Late last year, it appeared that states were on track to do just that, said Andrew Smalley, a research analyst at the NCSL. "It's been a real rollercoaster ride for where the revenues have been going, and what things looked like a year ago versus the situation now," Smalley said. "I think people were definitely preparing to make pretty serious cuts."
 
As extremes shape voter ID debate, the rules keep getting stricter
Tampa Bay Times
The National Conference of State Legislatures has divided up the states that have voter ID laws into two groups: those with strict ID laws and those with non-strict laws.
 
Research shows people who catch COVID less likely to support public health mandates than are their friends
Selma Sun
Research involving The University of Alabama found that how people perceive risk of COVID-19 and what they do about it are different than what might be expected. Shao, along with Dr. Feng Hao, assistant professor of sociology at the University of South Florida, led four studies on risk perception using statistical modeling of data from public opinion polls conducted by Pew Research Center, National Opinion Research Center, Democracy Fund and the University of California-Los Angeles along with their own survey and state-level data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Moody’s Analytics and National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Group to begin work on Alabama’s new medical marijuana program
AL.COM
Alabama became the 37th state to legalize cannabis products for medical purposes, according to the National Conference for State Legislatures.
 

Aug. 10

Election-Season Chaos Is No Longer Far-Fetched, but Preventable
The Wall Street Journal
This comes even though an unprecedented postelection examination of the 2020 presidential vote has found no evidence of meaningful fraud that would have affected the outcome. Actually, the work of local election officials is examined routinely; the National Conference of State Legislatures says 34 states require a traditional postelection audit, while four more require a so-called risk-limiting audit that uses statistically based techniques to limit the chance of an incorrect outcome.
 
Laws for Prescription Drug Brokers Could Soon Have Teeth
Stateline
Nearly every state has enacted some type of PBM regulation since 2015, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The first wave of laws pertaining to PBMs focused on licensure requirements, according to Reck. Those were seen as a necessary step for states to begin to review the activity of PBMs, which previously operated without any state monitoring.
 
Way tells redistricting commissions that adjusted census numbers will take 7 days
New Jersey Globe | New Jersey Politics
“The Census Bureau’s decision to use differential privacy as its statistical method to meet the goal of avoiding the disclosure of individual responses may not be the best method to ensure states receive the most accurate data for redistricting purposes,” said Tim Storey, the executive director of the National Conference of State Legislatures, in a letter to lawmakers last year.
 
Officials say new voting audits offer trust and transparency in elections
Carolina Public Press
North Carolina joins a trend sweeping the nation. Since 2016, Colorado, Rhode Island and Virginia passed laws requiring these audits, with another nine states either piloting the audits or having them as an option, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
As extremes shape voter ID debate, the rules keep getting stricter
Tampa Bay Times
The National Conference of State Legislatures has divided up the states that have voter ID laws into two groups: those with strict ID laws and those with non-strict laws.
 
North Carolina sports gambling bill clears another committee
Winston-Salem Journal
At least 20 states and the District of Columbia offer sports betting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Laws for prescription drug brokers could soon have teeth
Ohio Capital Journal
The ruling immediately put wind at the back of lawmakers taking aim at PBMs. This year, nearly a third of the nearly 675 pharmaceutical-related bills filed in state legislatures focused on pharmacy benefit managers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a research organization.
 
North Carolina sports gambling bill clears another committee
Raleigh News & Observer
Following a 2019 U.S. Supreme Court decision paving the way for legalized sports betting in all 50 states, interest from state lawmakers to set up a system has soared. At least 20 states and the District of Columbia offer sports betting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
State Higher Ed Funding Looks Positive
Inside Higher Ed
As the pandemic raged on, experts feared that the higher education sector would once again see declines in state support for fiscal year 2022, which began in July. Every state except for Vermont is required by law to balance their budgets, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Higher education is often one of the first budget items to see cuts during periods of economic decline.
 

Aug. 9

Supreme Court decision could set off gerrymandering 'arms race'
The Hill
The constitutions of 30 states include some form of requirement that elections be “free,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Those and similar provisions, at least in theory, could create avenues for challengers to sue over partisan gerrymandering.
 
Report: $15 Hourly Wage Isn't Livable Anywhere in the US
U.S. News & World Report
Only nine states and Washington, D.C., have or are in the process of implementing a $15 per hour minimum wage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Even if a $15 federal minimum wage was signed into law, American families relying on a single minimum-wage earner would only bring in about half the money needed to cover average basic expenses each year.
 
Democrats Reboot Stalled Election-Law Push
The Wall Street Journal
In seeking to find common ground, Democrats have tangled over requirements to show identification when voting. Currently, 36 states have laws requesting or requiring voters to show some form of identification when voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The “For the People Act,” a version of which passed the House in March, would loosen identification requirements by allowing voters to attest to his or her identity through a signature instead of showing ID.
 
Redistricting reform advocates want to end prison-based gerrymandering. Experts say it’s possible
Pennsylvania Capital – Star
A handful of states have changed practices for allocating inmate data during the redistricting process legislatively, using an incarcerated person’s address before imprisonment for district maps. Ten states will launch reallocation policies during this cycle, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
NC sports betting bill gets winning vote from Senate panel
Raleigh News & Observer
At least 20 states and the District of Columbia offer sports betting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Pearce receives 2021 Legislative Staff Achievement Award from National Legislative Association
Yahoo News
Richard L. Pearce recently received the 2021 Legislative Staff Achievement Award from the Research, Editorial, Legal and Committee Staff association, a professional staff association with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Schenectady council to vote on asking state for permission to use speed cameras in school zones
The Daily Gazette
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that speed cameras and red-light cameras were unconstitutional. Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia prohibit both speed cameras and red-light cameras.
 
Cherokee legalized medical marijuana on Western North Carolina land. Can I buy some?
Charlotte Observer
Medical use of cannabis products is legal in 36 other states, and four U.S. territories, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
As deadline approaches, some CT police departments still don't have body cameras
The CT Mirror
Connecticut is not the only state to recently take that step. At least six others, including Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Carolina, now require officers to wear the recording devices, according to a 2021 report from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
NC sports betting bill gets winning vote from Senate panel
Daily Union
At least 20 states and the District of Columbia offer sports betting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians opened onsite betting operations at its two far western north Carolina casinos earlier this year. Interest has taken off nationwide after a 2019 U.S. Supreme Court decision cleared the way for every state to legalize sports betting.
 

Aug. 6

More businesses are mandating COVID-19 vaccines. Is that legal?
ABC News
As of June, 44 states and Washington, D.C., grant religious exemptions for people who have religious objections to immunizations, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks the state regulations. Fifteen states that allow philosophical exemptions for children whose parents object to immunizations because of personal, moral or other beliefs, the NCSL found.
 
Checking in on the MONEY RACES — Boston's new POLICING PLAN — When LYONS met TRUMP
Politico
State Auditor Suzanne Bump’s office received the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Notable Document Award in the field of public safety.
 
Medical marijuana is now legal on Cherokee land in Western NC. It’s a first in the state.
Charlotte Observer
Medical use of cannabis products is legal in 36 states and four U.S. territories, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Eighteen states, two territories and the District of Columbia legally allow small amounts of marijuana for adult recreational use, according to the conference.
 
NC sports betting bill gets winning vote from Senate panel
News & Observer
At least 20 states and the District of Columbia offer sports betting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Multiple panels holding hearings as state braces for redrawing of political lines
The Daily Item
Due to pandemic delays, the Census has notified states that some data will be provided later this month and the rest should be forward to the states by the end of September, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Legislative Research tech workers earn national honor for COVID response
WTVQ
The National Association of Legislative Information Technology – known as NALIT – is a staff association of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). NCSL is a bipartisan organization that works to advance the effectiveness, independence and integrity of legislatures and to foster interstate cooperation and facilitate the exchange of information among legislatures.
 
Voter ID petition drive begins in Nebraska
3 News Now
Data from the National Conference of State Legislatures show nine states have strict voter ID requirements and another nine with less restrictive requirements, allowing voters to use documents like utility bills to vote.
 

Aug. 5

‘Vaccinated or You Can’t Come In’
New York Times
Ten states have passed legislation to prohibit schools, businesses and state governments from mandating the vaccine, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Fourteen have passed legislation to prohibit vaccine passports or proof of vaccination in general.
 
More businesses are mandating COVID-19 vaccines. Is that legal?
ABC
All states and the District of Columbia have mandated vaccines for ailments such as measles, rubella and polio, for school-age children, although requirements differ by state. There are also a range of exceptions, most commonly medical and religious reasons.
 
As of June, 44 states and Washington, D.C., grant religious exemptions for people who have religious objections to immunizations, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks the state regulations. Fifteen states that allow philosophical exemptions for children whose parents object to immunizations because of personal, moral or other beliefs, the NCSL found.
 
After Months of Avoiding the Vaccine Issue, Companies Begin to Mandate
New York Times
Companies may also have to contend with pushback from state governments. Ten states have passed legislation limiting the ability to require vaccines for students, employees or the public, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
NC sports betting bill gets winning vote from Senate panel
Modesto Bee
At least 20 states and the District of Columbia offer sports betting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians opened onsite betting operations at its two far western north Carolina casinos earlier this year. Interest has taken off nationwide after a 2019 U.S. Supreme Court decision cleared the way for every state to legalize sports betting.
 
Editorial Roundup: South Carolina
Tri-City Herald
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, each state operates under certain criteria when making redistricting decisions with that data.
 
Colorado adding red tape for people trying to get vaccine exemption
9 News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, all but six states in the nation have a religious exemption for immunizations. Colorado is one of 15 states that allows for both religious and personal belief exemptions.
 

Aug. 4

After Months of Avoiding the Vaccine Issue, Companies Begin to Mandate
The New York Times
Companies may also have to contend with pushback from state governments. Ten states have passed legislation limiting the ability to require vaccines for students, employees or the public, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Hearings begin this week on Pennsylvania legislative, congressional redistricting
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
It will also hear from Wendy Underhill, director of the elections and redistricting program for the National Conference of State Legislatures, as well as Mr. Ali and Committee of Seventy president and CEO David Thornburgh.
 
New tiny home village giving homeless veterans a new start
LEX18 Lexington KY News
Delaware, Connecticut, and Virginia are the only states that have virtually eradicated veteran homelessness, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. But until that’s the case nationwide, Harrell and his team won’t stop helping veterans like Elliott.
 
As kids go back to school in Colorado, a new vaccine exemption law takes effect
9News.com KUSA
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, all but six states in the nation have a religious exemption for immunizations. Colorado is one of 15 states that allows for both religious and personal belief exemptions.
 
Court nixes some caps for Alaska campaign contributions
Alaska Public Media
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of late 2019, 11 states did not impose contribution limits on individual donors.
 

Aug. 3

Court Nixes Some Caps for Alaska Campaign Contributions
U.S. News & World Report
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of late 2019, 11 states did not impose contribution limits on individual donors.
 
Hearings begin this week on Pennsylvania legislative, congressional redistricting
Pittsburg Post
It will also hear from Wendy Underhill, director of the elections and redistricting program for the National Conference of State Legislatures, as well as Mr. Ali and Committee of Seventy president and CEO David Thornburgh.
 
Certificate of Need: Part of Health Care Reform?
Greenville
Currently, 35 states, including every state in the southern United States, and the District of Columbia operate CON programs, though guidelines vary from state to state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Hearings begin this week on Pennsylvania legislative, congressional redistricting
Pittsburgh Post – Gazette
It will also hear from Wendy Underhill, director of the elections and redistricting program for the National Conference of State Legislatures, as well as Mr. Ali and Committee of Seventy president and CEO David Thornburgh.
 
Sununu rejects New Hampshire primary date move
Laconia Daily
At least 31 other states – including Connecticut, Vermont and Florida – hold their state primaries in June, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 

Aug. 2

Rise in car crash deaths prompts new seat-belt push
Fox Business
In 20 states, police can pull a car over if an officer sees an unbuckled adult in the front or back seat, the National Conference of State Legislatures says. Twenty-nine states have weaker laws, including nine where the failure of an adult in the front seat to wear a belt is a secondary offense, which means police need another reason, such as speeding, to stop a car and issue a citation. New Hampshire is the only state with no adult seat-belt law, and 2019 federal data show it had the lowest rate of belt use at 71%. Children are covered by separate state laws.
 
Kids are starting their third Covid school year. Here's what to know.
CNN
At least 13 states -- Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Utah -- have passed laws that limit requiring someone to demonstrate their vaccination status or immunity against Covid-19, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Public records laws shield police from scrutiny — and accountability
The Washington Post
The renewed scrutiny of policing has led to some attempts to change state laws. A Post analysis of the State Bill Tracking Database of the National Conference of State Legislatures found that at least 17 states have pending bills that would make it easier for the public to view police records. California, New York, Maryland and Virginia have recently passed laws making it more difficult for law enforcement agencies to keep records confidential.
 
House Republicans seek to boost case for voter ID laws
Yahoo News
Reps. Virginia Foxx, James Comer, and Rodney Davis sent a letter Friday to the National Conference of State Legislatures, an association representing state lawmakers, asking for a full list of which states use voter ID laws, as well as which ones have voter ID proposals pending.
 
House's chief counsel is honored with professional leadership award
West Virginia MetroNews
The chief counsel to the House Speaker has been honored with a legislative staff achievement award by a national organization. Dan Greear, longtime attorney with the House of Delegates majority, was presented the award by the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Leadership Staff Professional Association.
 
Mail-in voting requires no signature verification.
PolitiFact
In 2020, 31 states had laws requiring signature matching for mail-in voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Video still withheld on police-shot teen
Arkansas Online
As of 2018, at least 23 states and the District of Columbia had passed laws related to the public disclosure of body-worn camera footage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Many states have considered similar legislation since.
 
Here are the big developments this week coming out of the Capitol
City & State
On Wednesday, the Senate State Government Committee will hold a public hearing on congressional reapportionment, while on Thursday the Legislative Reapportionment Commission – tasked with drawing state legislative maps – will receive presentations from the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania and the Legislative Data Processing Center.