In the News | September 2021

9/7/2021

Sept. 15

States and the Fiscal Experiment Flowing from Washington
Governing
A report by the National Conference of State Legislatures provides a state-by-state summary of key actions taken at that level.
 
Yes, governors have been recalled before
NBC Washington
A recall “is a procedure that allows citizens to remove and replace a public official before the official’s term of office ends,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
It’s different from impeachment, in that impeachment is a legal process in which a state legislature typically brings charges against an elected official, and a government body votes on whether to remove the official from office, the NCSL says. While most recalls occur at the local level, the NCSL says 19 states, including California, and the District of Columbia allow state officials to be recalled.
 
Open government group applauds Delaware redistricting hearings - WHYY
WHYY
In a typical redistricting year, state lawmakers would get census data to help redraw lines in April. This year, because of delays related to COVID-19, release of the raw data was delayed until mid-August, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. There’s even a longer delay for the data in more user-friendly tables, which won’t be available from the U.S Census Bureau until Sept. 16.
 
The Unexpected Reason Arizona's Mask Mandate Ban May Be Unconstitutional | WUNC
WUNC
Most states have similar rules in their constitutions requiring bills to stick to one subject at a time, and some, like Arizona, extend those rules to the budget, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Alabama passed a bill to permanently adopt Daylight Saving Time. Do we still
Montgomery Advertiser
Alabama joins Minnesota, Montana, Mississippi and Georgia in passing laws in 2021 to make the change permanent, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 

Sept. 14

Major college sports are under siege and they want K Street to save them
Politico
As of today, dozens of states have laws or executive orders establishing rules related to NIL for college athletics, some of which went into effect on July 1, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California recently pushed up the deadline for its new law to take effect, to September 2021.
 
Marijuana use soars among college students while alcohol use drops: research
The Hill
Thirty-seven states have legalized either the recreational or medical use of marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures data.
 
The Unexpected Reason Arizona's Mask Mandate Ban May Be Unconstitutional
NPR
Most states have similar rules in their constitutions requiring bills to stick to one subject at a time, and some, like Arizona, extend those rules to the budget, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Nicholas could bring catastrophic flooding to parts of Texas and Louisiana — what we know ...
MarketWatch
Pew Charitable Trusts has compiled research on local flood mitigation efforts around the country, and the National Conference of State Legislatures collects resources on state-level actions on flood issues.
 
Remapping 2021 | New draft Colorado legislative maps are coming and congressional commissioners struggle to find consensus
The Colorado Sun
The National Conference of State Legislatures offers a state-by-state look at overall standards. In Colorado, the target population, based on 2020 census data, for state House districts is 88,826, while it’s 164,963 for state Senate districts. The target is 721,714 for the U.S. House districts.
 

Sept. 13

Redistricting Battles Kick Off in State Courts
Stateline
Many of these tools sprang from past litigation when judges wanted evidence from parties arguing about partisanship and discrimination, said Underhill of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
“We’ve encouraged redistricters to be familiar with these tools because if they’re not looking themselves with these kinds of measures then someone will be looking over their shoulder with those kinds of measures,” she said.
               
Can They Do That? Questions Swirl Around COVID-19 School Vaccine Mandates - Education Week
Education Week
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 44 states offer religious exemptions and 15 offer philosophical exemptions for at least some school vaccination requirements. Some states have tightened their criteria for such exemptions in recent years among falling vaccination rates and outbreaks of certain diseases.
 
N.Y. Faces Tax Hike Over $9 Billion Debt for Jobless Checks
Yahoo Finance
States can uses federal aid from the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan to make one-time payments to replenish state unemployment insurance funds and repay outstanding federal loans. Georgia and Ohio plan to direct $1.5 billion in federal aid to their unemployment trust funds and Maryland dedicated $1.1 billion, DiNapoli said. More than 32 states are using or considering using CARES ACT or ARP funding to shore up their funds, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Can Iowa’s Nonpartisan Congressional Redistricting Withstand Partisan Climate?
Des Moines Register
NCSL Cited
 
State Bill Banning Police From Using Certain Holds Heads to Governor’s Desk
CBS San Francisco
Nevada enacted a similar ban last year as part of broader legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Redistricting battles kick off in state courts
GCN
The rulings in these cases will affect redistricting processes across the nation, said Wendy Underhill, director of the elections and redistricting program at the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nonpartisan group that tracks state legislation.
 
“It is likely that most states will have at least some lawsuits, because redistricting tends to make people think that there's winners and losers,” said Underhill. “And if you're the loser, you're going to give it at least a shot at going to the court.”
 
GOP to reveal redistricting plan
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Redistricting – The redrawing or revision of boundaries for representational districts based on the new population, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission wants plants in ground next year - al.com
al.com
Alabama became the 37th state to legalize medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 

Sept. 10

N.Y. Faces Tax Hike Over $9 Billion Debt for Jobless Checks
The Washington Post
More than 32 states are using or considering using CARES ACT or ARP funding to shore up their funds, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
               
Biden's new COVID plan would require millions of workers to get vaccinated. How that will work in Va. is unclear
Richmond Times Dispatch
Currently only 13 states plus Washington, D.C., have laws in place that mandate sick leave, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Virginia is not one of them.
 
State Bill Banning Police From Using Certain Holds Heads to Governor’s Desk
CBS San Francisco
Nevada enacted a similar ban last year as part of broader legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
18 States Passed Election Reforms This Year. Here’s What They Did.
The Daily Signal
Organizations that tallied the election changes include the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nonpartisan group representing state lawmakers, and the Brennan Center for Justice, a liberal group opposed to voter ID laws and the upkeep of voter registration. 
 
NAACP, Democrats file lawsuit over new “stand your ground” law - Ohio Capital Journal
Ohio Capital Journal
Attorneys for the plaintiffs said at a media briefing Thursday their suit, if successful, would be the first stand your ground law overturned in the nation. Starting with Florida in 2005, at least 25 states have passed stand your ground laws according to a May 2020 count from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Sept. 3           

First flames, then fees: Tahoe evacuees report price-gouging
ABC News
Puerto Rico, Washington, D.C., and 39 states have regulations limiting price gouging during emergencies, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Top Missouri election official wants ban on helping voters fix absentee ballot mistakes
Kansas City Star
As of September 2020, at least 18 states required election authorities to try to reach voters to correct signature problems on ballot envelopes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In Kansas, county election officers are required to attempt to contact voters who submit ballots with no signature or ballots where the signature doesn’t match the one on file.
 
Here’s why New York, Philly and inland spots aren’t safe from climate change-fueled hurricanes like Ida
MarketWatch
Pew Charitable Trusts has compiled research on local flood mitigation efforts around the country, and the National Conference of State Legislatures collects resources on state-level actions on flood issues.
 
Governors, the pandemic’s early heroes, are getting torched for their handling of COVID-19
Desert News
Governors have in some cases been given emergency powers because of the pandemic, but those are being curtailed by state legislatures. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 22 states have passed some form of executive oversight or restrictions since 2020. In Utah, lawmakers passed a bill that limits the governor’s ability to extend a state of emergency, provides legislative oversight to declare a new state of emergency and ended the state’s mask mandate.

Sept. 2

Justice Department: Federal agents with ATF in Detroit, Phoenix begin wearing body cameras
USA Today
As of 2016, about 60% of U.S. law enforcement agencies had at least some body cameras, according to the report. Among agencies with at least 500 full-time officers, 80% had body cameras. Seven states mandate the use of body cameras by law enforcement officers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
The Non-Smoking Future of Legal Marijuana - Yahoo Finance
Yahoo Finance
Less than 20 years later, Colorado and Washington approved adult-use recreational marijuana measures in 2012. The floodgates are now open, with 18 states, two territories, and D.C. having all enacted legislation to regulate legal recreational cannabis for adult use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Top Missouri election official wants ban on helping voters fix absentee ballot mistakes
The Kansas City Star
As of September 2020, at least 18 states required election authorities to try to reach voters to correct signature problems on ballot envelopes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In Kansas, county election officers are required to attempt to contact voters who submit ballots with no signature or ballots where the signature doesn’t match the one on file.
 
'We will never make everyone happy:' Idaho redistricting process begins Wednesday - Times-News
Twin Falls Times-News
In most states, the state legislature handles redistricting. Idaho is one of 14 states that uses a bipartisan commission to handle redistricting, according to the National Council of State Legislatures. In 1994, Idaho voters approved a state constitutional amendment that created the bipartisan redistricting commission. Before that, the Idaho Legislature was responsible for redistricting in Idaho.
 
DIY redistricting allows public to draw maps in more states
Stateline
Several more states—Idaho, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and New York—are obligated by law to accept and consider maps drawn and submitted by the public, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nonpartisan group that tracks state legislation.
 
Texans with PTSD or cancer can now use medical marijuana under new law
KHOU
Texas is one of 36 states that allow the use of medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.