In the News | October 2021

10/11/2021

Oct. 29

California debates changes to 110-year-old recall process
Sacramento Bee
California is one of 19 states that allow voters to recall state officials, and one of 30 states that allow the recall of local officials, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But the number of signatures, the time allowed to gather them and other processes vary widely between states.
 
Disabilities commission set to review first report
WWLP
The starting point for the commission’s values statements was a report published in 2017 by the Council of State Governments and the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Young Coloradans can now receive three mental health counseling sessions for free
Colorado Public Radio
Colorado is believed to be the only state with a program providing free therapy sessions for youth, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
New Mississippi policy lets poor parents keep child support payments
Mississippi Today
Mississippi will join 28 other states that allow a pass-through, according to a 2020 analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 

Oct. 28

What you need to know about 'stand your ground' laws - KAKE
CNN
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) counted 25 as of May 26, 2020. At least three more have added "stand your ground" as laws since then: Ohio, Arkansas and North Dakota. At least 10 of those states have laws that literally say that you can "stand your ground," according to NCSL.
 
Transgender Athletes Face Bans From Girls' Sports in 10 U.S. States - The New York Times
The New York Times
Since 2019, nine states — all controlled by Republican lawmakers — have enacted legislation to ban or limit athletic participation by transgender students, and another has done so via executive order, with all but one of the laws coming in 2021, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Disabilities commission set to review first report
Boston News 7
The starting point for the commission’s values statements was a report published in 2017 by the Council of State Governments and the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Lawmakers get started on bills aimed at lobbyist influence
The Standard Journal
Most other states have laws limiting the extent of gifts that lawmakers may accept, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures. Lawmakers in Pennsylvania have made no move to impose so-called pay-to-play rules or limit campaign contributions, although both chambers approved internal chamber rules banning most types of cash gifts to members in 2014 following a scandal.
 
Polis administration launches free youth counseling program
FOX21 News Colorado 
Colorado is believed to be the only state with a program that provides free therapy sessions for any youth, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures. With the allotted funding, the state projects it can serve more than 10,000 youth.
 

Oct. 27

Texas signs into law bill banning transgender athletes from school sports
The Guardian
Still, at least 35 bills to exclude transgender youth from athletics have been introduced in 31 states this year, up from 29 in 2020 and two in 2019, according to a tally earlier this year by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Wisconsin's 2011 map cemented Republicans’ majority and shaped a decade of policy
Wisconsin Public Radio
Lawmakers in other states have taken notice. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 18 states allow recreational marijuana, including Wisconsin’s neighbors Illinois and Michigan.
 
Hawaii May Not Set Minimum Qualifications For Police Until 2024
Honolulu Civil Beat
Other states like Alabama and Nebraska also include “grandfather” clauses in their laws that set up standards boards in those states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Lawmakers take aim at lobbyist influence
The Lockhaven Express
Most other states have laws limiting the extent of gifts that lawmakers may accept, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.
 
What you need to know about ‘stand your ground’ laws
KESQ
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) counted 25 as of May 26, 2020. At least three more have added “stand your ground” as laws since then: Ohio, Arkansas and North Dakota. At least 10 of those states have laws that literally say that you can “stand your ground,” according to NCSL.
 
When do the clocks fall back? Mark your calendar for daylight saving time in Louisiana.
Lafayette Daily Advertiser
But Alabama, Minnesota, Montana, Mississippi and Georgia passed laws in 2021 to make the change permanent, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 

Oct. 26

Texas governor signs bill banning transgender girls from female sports in schools
Reuters
Still, at least 35 bills to exclude transgender youth from athletics have been introduced in 31 states this year, up from 29 in 2020 and two in 2019, according to a tally earlier this year by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Pennsylvania lawmakers get started on bills restricting lobbyists
The Morning Call
Most other states have laws limiting the extent of gifts that lawmakers may accept, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.
 
Maryland’s women lawmakers push for more influence as their caucus celebrates 50 years
Denver Gazette
The Maryland General Assembly has more gender diversity than many other state legislatures, which had an overall average representation of 30.6% women in 2021, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. (Nevada is tops with 61.9% women in the legislature; West Virginia is worst with 11.9% women.)
 

Oct. 25

Higher wages, sick pay now attached to state's incentives - AP News
AP News
Currently, 29 states have set minimum wages above the federal minimum, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Thirteen states have enacted laws to require paid sick leave, the NCSL said. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have approved their own ordinances to require it of companies doing business in those cities.
 
North Carolina bill to limit governor's emergency powers passes legislature
The Hill
A number of states have made efforts to rein in the power of governors during emergency situations. According to data cited by Pew in June from the National Conference of State Legislatures, a group that advises state legislatures, more than 300 bills have been filed in 47 states.
 
What Parents Need to Know About School Vouchers | K-12 Schools | US News
USNews.com
(NCSL Cited)
 
Upgrading grid to handle new energy sources
NJ Spotlight News
Sixty percent of U.S. distribution lines have surpassed their 50-year life expectancy, according to Black Veatch, an engineering and construction company, while the Battle Investment Group estimates that $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion will be spent by 2030 to modernize the grid just to maintain reliability, the National Council of State Legislatures said in a report.
 

Oct. 20

Will Senate Republicans Support a Voting Rights Bill?
Washington Post
NCSL Cited
 
Special legislative session is officially set for later this month in Cheyenne
Casper Star-Tribune
Wyoming is one of only a couple states fighting back against the mandate via the State Legislature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
As marijuana profits fade, cartels increasingly smuggle fentanyl
TucsonSentinel.com
In Arizona, medical marijuana was legalized in 2010, and voters in November approved recreational use. Medical use of marijuana is allowed in 36 states, while recreational use is now legal in 18 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
History of vaccine mandates in the US
KULR 8 News
The federal government has recognized the importance of vaccines for protecting public health by passing legislation and establishing agencies to oversee their safe manufacture and distribution. Stacker used online resources from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Cornell Law School to put together a timeline of important events in the history of vaccines and vaccine mandates in the U.S.
 
Yes, states can opt out of daylight saving time
WNEP 16 News
Currently, two states, Arizona (except the Navajo Nation) and Hawaii, do not observe daylight saving time. U.S. territories American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands also do not observe daylight saving time, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
 
Unemployment overpayments creating clawback crisis
WWLP
Based on research done by the National Conference of State Legislatures and the U.S. Department of Labor, Hurst said there could be as much as $1.6 billion in UI overpayments and fraud in Massachusetts.
 

Oct. 19

As marijuana profits fade, cartels increasingly smuggle fentanyl across the border
Gila Herald
In Arizona, medical marijuana was legalized in 2010, and voters in November approved recreational use. Medical use of marijuana is allowed in 36 states, while recreational use is now legal in 18 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Homebuyer ‘Love Letters’ May Stir Bias. (But They Often Work.)
Pew Trusts
Real estate trade groups in states such as California and Washington also have recognized the issue Oregon’s love letter law seeks to address, but no similar bill has been introduced in any other state this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Association of Realtors. Many states do, however, discourage the practice.
 
New Nebraska film incentives aimed at luring big movie projects
Omaha Herald
According to a 2017 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures, 31 states offered some kind of incentives for movie and TV studios. While that number had declined from a high of 44 states in 2009, the amount of spending on incentives has not, amounting to an estimated $1.7 billion in 2017, according to a report by the University of Southern California.
 
Yes, states can opt out of daylight saving time
WFAA - Dallas
Currently, two states, Arizona (except the Navajo Nation) and Hawaii, do not observe daylight saving time. U.S. territories American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands also do not observe daylight saving time, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
 

Oct. 18

Philadelphia passes bill barring cops from making minor traffic stops
New York Post
At the time, more than 30 states had passed 140-plus new police reform laws since the May 2020 murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, according to a New York Times analysis of data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
GOP lawmakers lead lawsuits against Connecticut COVID rules
ABC News
A spokesperson for the National Conference of State Legislatures said it can be difficult to track how many legislatures, if any, might consider that to be a conflict of interest.
 
Volatile State Tax Collections Make Budgeting Difficult
PEW 
Volatility scores for each state’s overall tax revenue and specific tax sources were calculated using the U.S. Census Bureau’s State Government Tax Collections historical data series from fiscal 2000 to 2020. Data were adjusted to control for the effects of tax policy changes using the National Conference of State Legislatures’ State Tax Actions reports for fiscal 2000 to 2020.
 
Climate change: NC gov. signs major energy law
AP
At least 16 states previously have passed legislation establishing greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The only other Southeast state to have done so before Wednesday was Virginia.
 

Oct. 15

Florida lawmakers to limit public input before drawing redistricting maps
Tampa Bay Times
Across the country, the trend has been for more public input on redistricting, not less, as the public has become more attentive to the process in the last decade, especially with the availability of livestreamed hearings, said Wendy Underhill, director of Elections and Redistricting for the National Conference of State Legislatures. “I’m surprised [at Florida], because it seems like it’s burgeoning elsewhere,’’ she said Wednesday in a briefing with reporters. “Even the states that don’t have it in written statute are still making quite an effort.”
 
West Virginia lawmakers OK redistrict maps amid criticism
AP
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 15 states give the primary responsibility for legislative redistricting to a commission.
 
GOP lawmakers lead lawsuits against Connecticut COVID rules
ABC News
It's not unheard of for state legislators to sue their own governor and state agencies over pandemic-related issues. A spokesperson for the National Conference of State Legislatures said it can be difficult to track how many legislatures, if any, might consider that to be a conflict of interest.
 
WV takes another step toward better elections
Charleston Gazette-Mail
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “West Virginia is currently one of only 10 states that utilize multi-member districts in its state legislature, and one of only two, along with New Hampshire, that has multimember districts which elect three or more members.”
 
When does the time change?
Alabama Local News
The Alabama legislation is similar to bills or resolutions passed by 15 other states in the last four years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Georgia and Louisiana adopted similar bills last year.
 

Oct. 14

West Virginia lawmakers OK redistrict maps amid criticism
AP
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 15 states give the primary responsibility for legislative redistricting to a commission.
 
Climate change: North Carolina gov signs major energy law
ABC News
At least 16 states previously have passed legislation establishing greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
House Republicans propose legalizing marijuana for 21+ recreational use
News 5 Cleveland
Eighteen states, plus Washington D.C., have legalized marijuana for adult recreational use, according to July research from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Thirty-six, including Ohio, have legalized marijuana for medicinal use.
 
Lay off the gas: No new fees for electric cars | Editorial
Palm Beach Post
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), at least 47 states and the District of Columbia offer incentives for electric car use. These include high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane exemptions, purchase incentives, parking incentives and utility rate reductions. Utilities offer rebates and grants, and price reductions for off-peak charging.
 

Oct. 13

State should resist push to have independent commission tackle redistricting
Norfolk Daily News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 15 states give a commission the primary responsibility for drawing state legislative districts and 10 do so for congressional boundaries. Other states have commissions that fill an advisory role or serve as a backstop if the state legislature can’t get the job done. 
 
Ohio GOP lawmaker to introduce marijuana legalization bill
10 WBNS
Eighteen other states — including Illinois and Michigan — two territories and the District of Columbia have passed laws regulating marijuana for recreational use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In addition, 36 states and four territories also allow for medical marijuana.
 
Oregon Republicans sue over new congressional districts
Newport Times
No legal challenge to Oregon’s congressional boundaries have succeeded during the four decades in which the National Conference of State Legislatures has tracked redistricting lawsuits.
 
Knowing who police pull over can help end racial profiling. But few NJ towns track it
Burlington Times
After the 1998 Turnpike shooting, other states began passing laws requiring their state and local law enforcement agencies track the race of the people they stop on the road. Currently, 15 states have such comprehensive laws on the books, according to an analysis by NorthJersey.com and the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 

Oct. 12

State should resist push to have independent commission tackle redistricting
Norfolk Daily News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 15 states give a commission the primary responsibility for drawing state legislative districts and 10 do so for congressional boundaries. 
 
Pa. ranked 21st for biggest bullying problems in new study
ABC 27 News
The study looked at data from 47 states and the District of Columbia. Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington were not included in the study due to data limitations. The data was compiled from the U.S. Census Bureau, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Bureau of Labor Statistics, StopBullying.gov, National Education Association, National Center for Education Statistics, National Conference of State Legislatures, Cyberbullying Research Center, and Psychology Today.
 

Oct. 11

Most Americans support vaccine mandates for schoolkids
Politico
All 50 states since the early 1980s have had vaccination requirements for students entering school that cover shots for conditions like measles, mumps and rubella. Forty-four states and the District of Columbia grant exemptions on religious grounds, and 15 allow exemptions for children whose parents object on moral or other grounds, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Dozens of States Have Tried to End Qualified Immunity. Police Officers and Unions Helped Beat Nearly Every Bill
Washington Post
NCSL Cited
 
Home care for older adults increased during COVID, but direct care workers remain hard to find
WTOP
Medicaid has been the nation’s largest funder of long-term care, and in recent years, the federal program spent more on home- and community-based long-term care rather than institutional care, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
 
Cooper Receives NC Energy Bill That Gets Final Legislator OK
97.9 WCHL
At least 16 states have passed legislation establishing greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most are in the Northeast and West regions.
 

Oct. 8

Cooper receives NC energy bill that gets final legislator OK
AP
At least 16 states have passed legislation establishing greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most are in the Northeast and West regions.
               
POLITICO-Harvard poll: Most Americans support vaccine mandates for schoolkids
Politico
All 50 states since the early 1980s have had vaccination requirements for students entering school that cover shots for conditions like measles, mumps and rubella. Forty-four states and the District of Columbia grant exemptions on religious grounds, and 15 allow exemptions for children whose parents object on moral or other grounds, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Changes are on the horizon for state education | Las Cruces Bulletin
Las Cruces Bulletin
Soules said the National Conference of State Legislatures’ No Time to Lose report, “How to Build a World-Class Education System State by State,” can help guide New Mexico as it considers other educational reforms, including making sure teachers “are highly prepared,” increasing vocational and technical education opportunities for high-school students and looking at education more holistically instead of as separate pieces.
 
Tennessee legislative session to rein in COVID-19 restrictions could start Oct. 27
Chattanooga Times Free Press 
NCSL Cited
 
How data privacy varies by state
Roanoke Times
Referencing data from the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) and the National Conference for State Legislatures (NSCL), approved compiled laws and bills relating to data privacy across the United States. 
 

Oct. 7

Dozens of states have tried to end qualified immunity. Police officers and unions helped beat nearly every bill.
The Washington Post
But then, in state after state, the bills withered, were withdrawn, or were altered beyond recognition. At least 35 state qualified-immunity bills have died in the past 18 months, according to an analysis by The Washington Post of legislative records and data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Group that works to elect GOP officials at state level showcases record fundraising haul
Yahoo News
Republicans control 54% of the 7,383 total legislative seats throughout the country, according to the latest data from the National Conference on State Legislatures. And they control 61 of the nation’s 99 state legislative chambers (Nebraska is the only state with a unicameral legislature). 
 
Where Boone County put its CARES COVID-19 relief funding
Columbia Missourian
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the spending guidelines that expenses had to be directly related to COVID-19 were not already accounted for in the budget approved before March 27, 2020, and were incurred during 2020.
 
Iowa lawmakers will vote on new political boundaries. Here's what you need to know about the Iowa Model
Iowa Public Radio
The task for drawing those districts was traditionally the purview of state legislatures. Forty states rely on their legislatures to redraw districts, and 35 states rely on them to redistrict themselves, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
A less-part-time Legislature
Times Record
Let’s return to the proposal before voters next year. Arkansas is one of only 14 states where the Legislature cannot call itself into special session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. However, it’s also one of only six states where a veto can be overridden by a simple majority.
 
Nevada State Senator Pat Spearman announces run for North Las Vegas Mayor
News3LV
Spearman is active at the national level, serving on various committees for the National Conference of State Legislatures and Council of State Governments, where she served as chair of the Webtrends Board.
 

Oct. 5

Nevada Lawmakers Review State's Pandemic Relief Spending
U.S. News & World Report
“Ultimately, it is an unprecedented amount of relief with an opportunity for strategic investment. States are rising to the occasion to make thoughtful decisions so their communities have strong recovery past the pandemic's public health and economic shocks,” Emily Maher, a National Conference of State Legislatures policy specialist, told lawmakers.
 
Bypassing Legislative fights, Kelly creates Kansas child welfare oversight office
Kansas City Star
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), about 21 states — including Missouri — have an office of child advocate or a children’s ombudsman. Another seven states have a state ombudsman who can also work on child welfare cases, the NCSL has found.
 
North Carolina isn’t alone in political push to rein in emergency powers
Raleigh News & Observer
The National Conference of State Legislatures tracks states’ action on COVID-19 response, including legislation about states of emergencies.
 
Alderwoman Sheila Finlayson claims victory in Ward 4 primary recount
The Baltimore Sun
Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia provide for automatic or mandatory recounts to be conducted if the margin between the top two candidates is within a specified range, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Iowa lawmakers will vote on new political boundaries. Here's what you need to know about the Iowa Model
Iowa Public Radio
The task for drawing those districts was traditionally the purview of state legislatures. Forty states rely on their legislatures to redraw districts, and 35 states rely on them to redistrict themselves, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Calls for independent redistricting commissions grow after special session
KPVI
Source: National Conference of State Legislatures • *A backup commission decides if a state legislature can't reach consensus. **An advisory commission may help a state legislature redraw boundaries.
 

Oct. 4

California will require all students to get coronavirus vaccine when it gets full FDA approval
The Washington Post
NCSL Cited
 
As budget struggles continue, Alaska’s special legislative sessions aren’t so special anymore

Anchorage Daily News
The National Conference of State Legislatures considers Alaska one of 10 states with a “full-time” or “full-time-lite” legislative branch, based on pay, the amount of time they work and the number of staff.

Here's what Congress can do to keep the next Trump from stealing an election
The Philadelphia Tribune
A National Conference of State Legislatures survey found that only a handful of states already incorporate into law requirements for state and local officials to do “risk-limiting” audits — the gold standard — to confirm official accounts, although more states have begun pilot programs.
 
Administration lauds ARPA rollout, Democrats criticize pace of spending
Helen Independent Record
Data kept by the National Conference on State Legislatures shows about 13 states have not put together plans to spend ARPA money yet.
 

Oct. 1

Kansas audited its $80 million CVS prescription plan, but it's still shrouded in mystery
KCUR 89.3 | NPR
Organizations such as the ERISA Industry Committee and the National Conference of State Legislatures have turned to Ciaccia to help educate private employers and state policymakers on where the money goes.
 
Giving limit rises to $7,600 for Georgia political donors
CBS 46
Among the more than 40 states that set contribution limits, Georgia's limits are above average, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
'Patients want equity': Hispanic uninsured rate among worst in U.S.
ABC 13 News
Texas is one of 12 states without expanded Medicaid coverage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization. In Texas, Medicaid currently provides coverage to residents who qualify based on their income and household size.
 
Congress must protect elections as much as the vote
Herald Net
A National Conference of State Legislatures survey found that only a handful of states already incorporate into law requirements for state and local officials to do “risk-limiting” audits — the gold standard — to confirm official accounts, although more states have begun pilot programs.