NCSL in the News | August 2015

8/3/2015

August 31

As Kids go back to School, states look to encourage vaccinations
CNN
Nearly all states allow exemptions from vaccinations because of religious beliefs; excluding California and Vermont, 18 permit exemptions because of parents' personal or philosophical convictions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

As self-driving cars come to more states, regulators take a back seat
Washington Post 
California, Florida, Michigan and Nevada and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to legalize automated vehicles, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of those, two have set out detailed regulations.

Regulators in more states take a back seat
gulfnews.com
California, Florida, Michigan and Nevada and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to legalise automated vehicles, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of those, two have set out detailed regulations.

Wisconsin bill would ban minors from tanning beds
Dubuque Telegraph Herald
Eleven states, plus the District of Columbia, have barred all minors from using tanning beds, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Lawmakers in two dozen other states have introduced bills this year that would ban all minors as well, according to NCSL.

Loophole in state electric car tax law
TheSacramento Bee
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 37 states have incentives for buying hybrid or plug-in electric vehicles. These benefits include financial incentives, vehicle inspection or emission test exemptions, parking incentives and utility rate reductions.
 
Fake guns vs. real guns: Split-second decisions could be a matter of life or death
The Ledger
In February, bills were introduced in the Florida Legislature to amend toy gun laws, said Jonathan Griffin, senior policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

States looking for more effective ways to encourage vaccinations
Hays Post 
Nearly all states allow exemptions from vaccinations because of religious beliefs; excluding California and Vermont, 18 permit exemptions because of parents’ personal or philosophical convictions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The world — and Minnesota — fight human trafficking
Star News
In 2011 the Legislature passed the Safe Harbor Law, recognizing that sexually exploited individuals younger than 18 are victims and survivors, not criminals, directing them to support services and shelter. At least 28 states now have safe harbor laws, says the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Nevada now selling medical marijuana 
Tahoe Daily Tribune 
On average it takes nine to 18 months for stores to open following legislative approval, said Karmen Hanson, marijuana analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

AG asks full appeals court to reconsider voter ID ruling 
Houston Chronicle
At least 30 states have some form of a voter ID law currently in effect, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, though Texas' is considered among one of the toughest in the country.

Voter Awareness Council to explore vote center concept for Montgomery County 
Your Houston News 
According to the National Conference on State Legislatures, vote centers are an alternative to traditional, neighborhood-based precincts. The vote centers allow voters to cast their ballots on Election Day at any vote center in the county regardless of their residential address.
    
Loophole could start debate on electric vehicles 
Casper Star-Tribune Online 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 37 states have incentives for buying hybrid or plug-in electric vehicles.

Marijuana In Ohio 
Kent State University 
The National Confrence of State Legislatures (2015) mentions that, "A total of 23 states, the District of Columbia and Guam now allow for comprehensive public medical marijuana and cannabis programs. Recently approved efforts in 17 states allow use of "low THC, high cannabidiol (CBD)" products for medical reasons in limited situations or as a legal defense" (National Conference of State Legislatures).

Democrats push independent commission amid redistricting mess 
Orlando Sentinel 
"The catch is how you define independent," said Tim Storey, state legislative elections expert for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "Some of these commissions are just as partisan as the Legislature."

A new chapter for E-Verify policy in Texas
Monitor
Texas belongs to a group of 22 states that have some version of an E-Verify mandate, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Kentucky is among 24 states with no state laws governing use of ...
Lexington Herald Leader
Twenty-six states have enacted laws addressing drones, and six others have adopted resolutions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Hispanic poverty in rural areas challenges states
Albuquerque Journal
The program gives priority to families for whom English is a second language, according to Matthew Weyer of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

August 28

Vaccination rates still high after Disneyland outbreak sparked debate
Washington Times
All 50 states have laws requiring vaccines for school students and provide for medical exemptions, although non-medical exemptions vary from state to state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Electronic poll books will be at voting locations across the state by November 2016
cleveland.com
The state office has rules regarding the examination, testing, and use of e-poll books, which are the size of a tablet computer or IPad. Ohio is one of six states that certify e-poll books, said the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Blame Obama? 
Philly.com 
In fact, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, Democrats lost power in nearly every state Senate and nearly every legislature since 2009.

States Try to Counter Rural Flight
KTOO
Meanwhile, the residents of Brokaw, Wisconsin, which saw its population drop and tax revenue plunge since a paper plant closed in 2012, have raised $756 in their online crowdfunding effort to close the $3.8 million budget gap. “Without money coming in, you don’t pave the roads, you don’t pick up the trash, you don’t upgrade the sewer system,” said Doug Farquhar, a program director at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Pennsylvania to be 23rd state with online voter registration 
Allentown Morning Call 
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 22 other states have adopted online registration and five others have approved online systems but not yet implemented them.

Electric car tax wording leads to loophole in fee 
Wyoming Tribune 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 37 states have incentives for buying hybrid or plug-in electric vehicles. 

Campaign finance reform can help rebuild public trust 
Albany Times Union 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 13 states across the country offer some kind of public financing to political candidates, and those systems have been proven to work. New York City has operated under a voluntary publicly funded system for more than 20 years. While not perfect, it is successful in promoting competition and reducing the influence of private donations.

What's next in N.J.'s sports betting bid after court rejects plan? 
NJ.com 
Lesniak said the National Conference of State Legislatures recently passed a resolution asking Congress to recognize that states should have sovereignty on whether to allow sports betting.

California lawmakers approve drone trespassing crime bill 
Lid Time - Weird News, Entertainment, News 
In 2015, 45 states have considered 156 bills related to drones, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Now the FAA allows small aircraft to be flown for recreational purposes without a permit, below 400 feet and at least five miles from an airport

Online Voter Registration Coming to Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Magazine
The National Conference of State Legislatures told the AP Pennsylvania will be the 23rd state to implement such a measure.

August 27

Since President Obama took office, 85 of 98 state legislative bodies got more Republican
Washington Post
Balz pointed to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures, showing that Republicans had unified control -- both chambers of the legislature and the governorship -- in nearly half of the 50 states.

Majority Of Voters In Iowa, New Hampshire Want Feds To Respect State Marijuana Laws 
Huffington Post 
State legislators also appear to agree -- just this month, the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nongovernment organization composed of state lawmakers and their staffs, passed a resolution urging the federal government to amend the Controlled Substances Act and other federal laws "to explicitly allow states to set their own marijuana and hemp policies without federal interference" and to refrain from undermining state marijuana and hemp laws.
 
A New Chapter for E-Verify Policy in Texas
Texas Tribune
Texas belongs to a group of 22 states that have some version of an E-Verify mandate, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But Texas was the only state in the group that waited until 2015 to pass an E-Verify bill, and nine states go even further by requiring that all employers use E-Verify. Those states are Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah.

Pennsylvanians to get online voter registration
LancasterOnline
The National Conference of State Legislatures says five other states have approved online systems but not yet implemented them.

Wolf administration to implement online voter registration in Pennsylvania
The Tribune
The National Conference of State Legislatures says five other states have approved online systems but not yet implemented them.

Tennessee General Assembly's Website Wins Online Democracy Award 
MarketWatch 
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) recently honored the Tennessee General Assembly with the Online Democracy Award for the best legislative website in the country. The award was presented during the NCSL’s Legislative Summit in Seattle. The award recognizes a legislature, legislative chamber or caucus whose website stands out for making democracy user-friendly.

Board member: Hiking minimum wage would benefit education 
Allentown Morning Call 
The federal minimum wage has stood at $7.25 an hour since 2009, but 29 states and Washington, D.C., have set the pay above that rate, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Why We Can't Handle A Stocks Bear Market - State Budgets Will ...
The Market Oracle
“Before the last week-and-a-half or so, states have been in the best relative fiscal health since the end of the Great Recession,” said Arturo Perez, fiscal program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. “This is a big game of wait-and-see.”

August 26

Recovering U.S. State Budgets Run Headlong Into Stock Declines
Bloomberg
“Before the last week-and-a-half or so, states have been in the best relative fiscal health since the end of the Great Recession,” said Arturo Perez, fiscal program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. “This is a big game of wait-and-see.” In surveys of fiscal officers from all 50 states conducted between February and April, the budget officers group found that states were expecting to spend 3.1 percent more in the year that began July 1, a slower rate of growth than the 4.6 percent in the year that ended June 30.

Republican voters to feds: Butt out of marijuana reform
Washington Post
Earlier this month the National Conference of State Legislators passed a resolution urging the federal government not just to butt out of state laws, but also amend the Controlled Substances Act to enshrine a federal hands-off approach to pot in the law.

Majority Of Voters In Iowa, New Hampshire Want Feds To Respect State Marijuana Laws
Huffington Post
State legislators also appear to agree -- just this month, the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nongovernment organization composed of state lawmakers and their staffs, passed a resolution urging the federal government to amend the Controlled Substances Act and other federal laws "to explicitly allow states to set their own marijuana and hemp policies without federal interference" and to refrain from undermining state marijuana and hemp laws.
 
States looking for more effective ways to encourage vaccinations
The Garden City Telegram
Every state allows medical exemptions for children whose immune systems are compromised because of congenital problems or cancer treatment, for example. Nearly all states allow exemptions from vaccinations because of religious beliefs; excluding California and Vermont, 18 permit exemptions because of parents’ personal or philosophical convictions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Bethlehem school board member: Hiking minimum wage would benefit education
Allentown Morning Call
The federal minimum wage has stood at $7.25 an hour since 2009, but 29 states and Washington, D.C., have set the pay above that rate, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

IU sociologists examine workplace stress, parenting trends, voter ID ...
IU Bloomington Newsroom
“After the Indiana law was upheld, it sort of opened the floodgates for other states,” Nicholson said. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 32 states now have voter ID laws -- including seven states with “strict” laws. Kansas, Nicholson’s home state, enacted a voter ID law in 2011.

How do state rules affect vaccine exemption numbers?
MedCity News
Nearly all states allow exemptions from vaccinations because of religious beliefs; excluding California and Vermont, 18 permit exemptions because of parents’ personal or philosophical convictions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Ballot-booth selfies: A threat to secret voting?
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, some are questioning whether the rise of cellphone cameras and influence of social media requires a new look at their practices. Utah passed a law that explicitly allows ballot selfies.

Idaho and Utah ranked at the bottom for women
Idaho State Journal
Idaho ranked 30th in political empowerment, which looked at the percentage of female lawmakers in the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives and the state Legislature according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. This year, over 27 percent of Idaho lawmakers were female, which is an increase of about one percent from 2014.

August 25

A citizenship test — but not just for students
Washington Post 
The New Yorker reported that “the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks state legislation, reported that seven states—Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah—passed such laws in the first half of the year; in July, they were joined by Wisconsin.”

Andy Shaw: Madigan’s tax law business full of ethical conflicts
Chicago Sun-Times
Mike Madigan spends a lot of time in Springfield, but the Illinois House Speaker also earns a sizeable income as a property tax attorney in Chicago, raising a question that’s shadowed him for years: Is it ethical, or a conflict of interest, to manage our state tax dollars in his role as a powerful legislative leader at the same time he’s helping building owners and developers lower their real estate taxes, which can increase the tax burden on the rest of us? “There are a lot of factors that make comparisons difficult,” says ethics expert Mark Quiner from the National Conference of State Legislatures. “Every state struggles with ethical issues and there’s no single correct approach.”

Releasing body camera video a balancing act for police
The Denver Channel
“It’s a balancing test, where they’re looking at what privacy things need to be considered and trying to be the most transparent,” said Rich Williams, a policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures criminal justice program. “They want to be transparent and accountable with the public and make sure law enforcement have that relationship with the public, but they want to protect law enforcement and make sure it isn’t a burden or a punishment.”

Drone no-fly zone in California will stifle innovation, say industry advocates
The Guardian
According to the National Conference on State Legislatures (NCSL), in 2015, 45 states considered 156 bills related to drones, and 18 states have passed legislation.

Law protecting homeowners from lead poisoning rarely enforced
Bangor Daily News
Mark Farquhar, an attorney with the National Conference of State Legislatures who has studied lead laws across the country, said that the lack of enforcement creates a terrible choice for contractors. “If they go by the law, they’re at a competitive disadvantage; if they don’t, they could poison a kid and they’re going to be liable for it,” said Farquhar.

Aresimowicz on national panel
Newbritainherald
House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, has been elected by lawmakers from around the country to serve on the 2015-16 National Conference of State Legislatures Executive Committee.

Releasing body camera video a balancing act for police
kjrh.com
“It’s a balancing test, where they’re looking at what privacy things need to be considered and trying to be the most transparent,” said Rich Williams, a policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures criminal justice program. “They want to be transparent and accountable with the public and make sure law enforcement have that relationship with the public, but they want to protect law enforcement and make sure it isn’t a burden or a punishment.”

NCAIED to collaborate with DOE on National Tribal Energy Summit
Native Times
The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) will assist with the planning and execution of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) September 23-25 National Tribal Energy Summit in Washington, DC. The conference’s theme is “Transforming our Energy Future.” Using its experience with its Reservation Economic Summits (RES) and knowledge of American Indian economic development, NCAIED will collaborate with DOE and summit host the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) to ensure a successful event that benefits Indian Country. DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz will attend the conference, and both President Obama and Vice President Biden have been invited to address attendees.

Public investment, economic development work hand in hand
Kingsport Times News
Tennessee, meanwhile, is behind other states taking action on transportation funding. No state legislature approved an increase to gasoline taxes in 2010, 2011 or 2012. Then, in 2013, six states and the District of Columbia enacted legislation that will increase or may increase overall state gas taxes. In 2014, three more states followed suit. In 2015, seven states — Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah and Washington — passed legislation to increase gas taxes, and two more states — Kentucky and North Carolina — altered the structure of their taxes in order to limit decreasing revenues, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

August 24

Is a ballot-booth selfie free speech, or a threat to the sanctity of the secret vote?
Washington Post
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, some are questioning whether the rise of cellphone cameras and influence of social media requires a new look at their practices. Utah passed a law that explicitly allows ballot selfies.

Legal Marijuana Means States Struggle How to Addressing High Driving
Governing
At least 17 states, including Washington, have “per se” laws, which make it illegal to have certain levels of THC in one’s body while operating a vehicle, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Under these laws, no additional evidence is required to prove a driver is impaired. Of those states, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington allow for some amount of THC to be found in a driver’s blood, ranging from 1 to 5 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml). Other states leave no wiggle room and consider any amount of THC to be impairing and grounds for being charged with DUID.
 
Kasich's claims about his budget and economic record in Ohio
Washington Post
Kasich says he has cut more taxes than any other sitting governor in the country. This is based on his staff’s analysis. But comparing tax cuts across states accurately is difficult and not always an accurate comparison, because states have varying budget cycles and types of tax revenue. (This National Conference of State Legislatures database shows all the different ways state tax actions can be compared.) It also is important to give context to the amount of tax revenue cut in a state, by comparing it to the share of the economy.

Lawmakers spent $30K of campaign funds on pro sports tickets
The Tennessean
State laws vary on whether candidates can use campaign funds for sporting events. A 2014 analysis from the National Conference of State Legislatures shows that many, if not most, states don't allow candidates to use campaign funds for personal use. But when it comes to campaign or political activity, most states either allow or don't clearly address spending excess campaign funds on tickets to games. Some state campaign laws may have been updated in recent legislative sessions, said NCSL senior policy specialist Katy Owens Hubler.
 
Landowners can find frustration in eminent domain cases
Dickinson Press
The North Dakota constitutional amendment said "public benefits that result in economic development are not the traditional public uses that we want eminent domain to be used for in the state," said Larry Morandi, the director of state policy research at the National Conference of State Legislatures. "It's one of the more comprehensive definitions of eminent domain use that limits it to traditional ideas of what public use is," Morandi said.
 
Fifty years after Voting Rights Act
Reading Eagle
Today, 36 states require voters to present some form of voter identification, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Voter identification laws have met some challenges in recent years. 

Lawmakers see own funds dwindle as Pennsylvania's state budget fight continues
The Republic
Pennsylvania has 253 state lawmakers, and its permanent staff of nearly 3,000 ranked first in the country as of 2009, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Despite its full-time status, the Legislature is often absent from Harrisburg — the House has held 52 voting sessions so far in 2015, the Senate 49, with about two dozen more scheduled through December.

Lawmakers plan competing bills to set body-camera rules
KSL.com
So far, 19 states have passed laws or resolutions regarding police use of body cameras, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Lawmakers' surplus dwindles amid impasse
Indiana Gazette
Pennsylvania has 253 state lawmakers, and its permanent staff of nearly 3,000 ranked first in the country as of 2009, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Despite its full-time status, the Legislature is often absent from Harrisburg — the House has held 52 voting sessions so far in 2015, the Senate 49, with about two dozen more scheduled through December.

Does a tax credit make a difference for Maine, debt-laden college grads?
Bangor Daily News
Even though several states have proposed similar credits, they rarely make it out of committee, likely because the federal government already allows graduates to deduct up to $2,500 in interest paid on student loans, according to Dustin Weeden, policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Recalls vs. Elections
Inside Tucson Business
By contrast, it is my opinion that “special interests” are behind all three of the recall efforts mentioned above. The National Conference of State Legislators web site documents that there have been 14 state-level recall efforts since 1990. Of the total, 11 recalls came from just two states: California and Wisconsin, two states notorious for over-the-top special interest political activism.

Mystery money: Oregon lets officials keep income details in shadows
OregonLive.com
Of course, Oregon is hardly alone in paying heed to privacy. Of 47 states that require annual income statements, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, none demands exact amounts. Just 17 require some kind of range, and even those vary. Officials in Rhode Island, California and Hawaii all have to say whether certain sources are worth more than $1 million. But Wisconsin, for example, asks only whether a source is worth more than $50,000.

Missouri lags behind neighbors on ethics laws
Springfield News-Leader
(NCSL Info. Cited) Missouri has some of the weakest ethical requirements for lawmakers in the nation.
 
Promoting neighborly ties in GOP weekly message
Delaware First Media
Hi, I’m State Representative Deborah Hudson speaking to you from the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington. It was on this site that Delaware just finished hosting the annual meeting of the Council of State Governments Eastern Regional Conference. While largely invisible to the public, the work of organizations like the Council of State Governments and the National Conference of State Legislatures helps to shape state policy.

A new face for local nonprofits
CapitalGazette.com
Curtin earned bachelor's and master's degrees in social work from the University of Wyoming and the University of Denver, respectively. She started her career at the National Conference of State Legislatures, at which she worked on health and human service issues.

August 21

Washington state's top court extends SeaTac's $15 wage to airport workers
Yahoo News
Washington state's hourly minimum wage, at $9.47, is the highest among U.S. states, though Rhode Island enacted an increase to $9.60 effective Jan. 1, 2016, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. SeaTac was the first city in the nation to approve a $15 minimum wage. Some 29 states and Washington, D.C. have minimum wages above the federal minimum of $7.25, according to the conference.
 
California Bill Aims to Warn Consumers About Recording TVs
ABC News
His AB1116 is the first legislation of its kind in the United States, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. After unanimous passage in the Assembly, the bill now goes before the full Senate before the Legislature finishes on Sept. 11.
 
California bill aims to warn consumers about recording TVs
The San Luis Obispo Tribune
His AB1116 is the first legislation of its kind in the United States, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. After unanimous passage in the Assembly, the bill now goes before the full Senate before the Legislature finishes on Sept. 11.
 
Lawmakers see own funds dwindle in Pennsylvania budget fight
Daily Local News
Pennsylvania has 253 state lawmakers, and its permanent staff of nearly 3,000 ranked first in the country as of 2009, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Despite its full-time status, the Legislature is often absent from Harrisburg — the House has held 52 voting sessions so far in 2015, the Senate 49, with about two dozen more scheduled through December.
 
Lawmakers see own funds dwindle in budget fight
Reading Eagle
Pennsylvania has 253 state lawmakers, and its permanent staff of nearly 3,000 ranked first in the country as of 2009, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Despite its full-time status, the Legislature is often absent from Harrisburg — the House has held 52 voting sessions so far in 2015, the Senate 49, with about two dozen more scheduled through December.

August 20

New push to teach students money skills before they are college-bound
MLive.com
Thirty states, including Michigan, have pending financial education and financial literacy legislation in the 2015 legislative session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Worried About Police Brutality? There's An App For That
International Business Times
“The argument is video gives more objective evidence for each individual encounter,” said Rich Williams, policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Criminal Justice Program. “It gives people the ability to go back and see how they acted in a certain situation.
 
Illinois Task Force To Develop Rules for Drones
CBS Local
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 26 states have enacted laws addressing drones and an additional six states have adopted resolutions. Most of them deal with defining drones and how they can be used by law enforcement or other state agencies, the general public and hunters.
 
Meijer investigated in Wisconsin for pricing too low
MLive.com
Most states have laws that protect consumers from retailers taking advantage of shortages by price gouging. Wisconsin is among 16 states with minimum markup laws that have price protections for retailers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Fargo man pushing initiative to legalize medical marijuana
Lexington Herald Leader
The National Conference of State Legislatures said 23 states have laws allowing medical marijuana. But it is still illegal at the federal level and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn't approved it. 
 
Active in Elementary School: Do State Physical Education Laws Affect Students' Classroom Performance
Georgetown Public Policy Review
Exercise has been a component of the federal government’s public health agenda for about the last two decades. Since 1995, physical activity advice has been a part of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In 2008, the US Department of Health and Human Services deemed the research addressing the benefits of physical activity strong enough to develop standalone guidance for exercise. The National Conference of State Legislatures reported that in 2010 and 2011, 16 states enacted laws related to PE, physical activity or recess.
 
Key West commissioners vote to ease marijuana penalties
Local 10
Ohio voters will decide in November whether or not to legalize marijuana. Take a look at which states currently allow marijuana for recreational and/or medicinal purposes, compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

August 19

Obamacare Waiver Gives States Opening For Huge Reforms. But Will They Take It?
National Journal
"Given the Vermont experience, I think that that's certainly something that everybody's aware of," said Joy Wilson, who is a health policy expert at the National Conference of State Legislatures. "They don't want to be in that space."
 
Larry Hogan fights Maryland Democrats for independent redistricting commission
Washington Times
More than a dozen states use commissions to some extent to determine their lines, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. They include Arizona and California, with panels completely independent of elected officials. Five states have commissions that can include elected officials, three states have advisory commissions to assist the legislature and two states have commissions serve as a backup if the legislature stalemates.
 
Oscar Robertson Looms Large Among Investors Urging Ohio Pot Vote
Bloomberg
Since 2012, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for adult recreational use and 23 states have approved medical pot, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Does state have say in ‘Obamacare’ rates?
McAlster News
The National Conference of State Legislatures study noted that some states that opposed the Affordable Care Act in general terms had opted to seek federally approved rate-review capability.
 
New York tops list of states with most bills introduced
Albany Times Union
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, New York tops the list of states with the highest average bill introductions from 1991 through 2013. Over that span, New York averaged 15,958 bills introduced per year. That’s 8,857 more bills introduced than Massachusetts, which is second on that list. The nationwide average was 2,198, according to NCSL
 
Ex-DHS consultant helped company win state Medicaid job
DesMoinesRegister.com
Iowa is one of at least 33 states that has a so-called “revolving door” law, which prohibits former lawmakers from working as a lobbyist for at least two years after leaving office, according to a 2014 study by the National Conference of State Legislatures. But that law does not apply to other types of state government employment, including contract work.
 
Half the States Have Joined the 'Powdered Alcohol Prohibition'
Food Safety News
The “powdered alcohol prohibition” rose up quickly. Before 2014, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), just two states had existing statutes that would affect the sale of powdered alcohol products
 
Meijer investigated in Wisconsin for pricing too low
MLive.com
Most states have laws that protect consumers from retailers taking advantage of shortages by price gouging. Wisconsin is among 16 states with minimum markup laws that have price protections for retailers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
NH legislators to feds: Stay out of marijuana laws
Sea Coast Online
Cushing sponsored a resolution passed by the National Conference of State Legislatures demanding Congress amend federal laws, including the Controlled Substance Act, “to explicitly allow states to set their own marijuana and hemp policies without federal interference.” The resolution also “urges the administration not to undermine state marijuana and hemp policies.” The NCSL is a non-partisan organization comprised of state legislators nationwide, Cushing said. It is the collective voice of state lawmakers speaking to the federal government, he said
 
Carly Fiorina wants parents to decide on vaccinations -- and schools to decide on unvaccinated kids

Deseret News
As the National Council of State Legislatures notes, almost all states allow exemptions for religious reasons, and 20 allow for exemptions based on philosophical grounds. Two of those, California and Vermont, have withdrawn their philosophical exemption effective next summer.

August 18

Haslam makes case for state transportation needs
Kingsport Times News
This year, seven states — Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah and Washington — passed legislation to increase gas taxes, while Kentucky and North Carolina altered the structure of their taxes in order to limit decreasing revenues, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.   
 
What happens to your unused gift cards?
Sioux Falls Argus Leader
Other states don’t allow businesses to charge fees or interest for cards that go unused for too long. Some allow users to redeem cards for cash, often with restrictions. The National Conference of State Legislatures has a good rundown of the laws on gift cards that breaks down how things work state-by-state.
 
Civics Tests as a Graduation Requirement: Coming Soon to a State Near You?
Education Week
The effort hasn't been without critics. Utah teachers raised concerns about introducing a new test just as the legislature was resolving to reduce the number of high-stakes standardized tests. The directors of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University wrote in an Education Week blog that the civic literacy crisis may be overblown and that deeper conversations is a more effective way to foster civic engagement in young people than requiring them to memorize facts for a test. And Vera notes that immigrant students who have had less exposure to U.S. students may be at a disadvantage. (The National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks legislation in all 50 states, includes information on the civics test requirements in its page on immigration.)
 
Nebraska families may launch medical pot ballot initiative
Norfolk Daily News
If it passes, Nebraska would join 23 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing marijuana for medical use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Should marijuana be legalized in Indiana? Issue to be subject of debate at VU
Greene County Daily World
Currently 23 states and the District of Columbia have medical marijuana laws on the books, and half of all U.S. states recognize industrial hemp. Four states plus Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for recreational use. On Aug. 6 the National Council of State Legislatures adopted a resolution that urges the federal government to refrain from interfering with state laws permitting the legal production and use of marijuana.
 
Oklahoma insurance rates expected to rise
Miami News Record
According to a study published last year by the National Conference of State Legislatures, Oklahoma was one of six states classified by the federal government as having no “effective” state rate-review program for Affordable Care Act health insurance. The others were Alabama, Louisiana, Missouri, Texas and Wyoming.

August 17

Yes, powdered alcohol is real. It's already banned in New York and at least 20 other states.
Washington Post
But in 2014, a handful of states began enacting bans on powdered alcohol; other states, including Alaska and Delaware, had pre-existing statutes banning or regulating that form of alcohol. In 2015, the number of states with outright bans has grown to 21: Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and now New York. Two states, Maryland and Minnesota, also had temporary bans in place as of June 2015, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Born into poverty: Rural Hispanic children face huge obstacles
USA TODAY
Lawmakers in Utah, where the Latino population has jumped 78 percent over the past decade, passed legislation last year to provide computers and Internet access to low-income families of preschoolers. (The program is for all children, although the state's counties are overwhelmingly rural.) The program gives priority to families for whom English is a second language, according to Matthew Weyer of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Guest opinion: Utah's governance in good hands
Daily Herald
First up is state Sen. Curt Bramble, who was just chosen as president of the National Conference of State Legislatures. The influential organization focuses on state-based solutions and is widely respected by lawmakers, policy wonks and government staffers across the country. Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser said it best: "Policy inertia and bureaucracy can be immovable objects, but Curt Bramble is an unstoppable force.”
 
Long Island Drone Sightings Rise as Regulations Debate Takes Off
Long Island Press
Since the technology emerged, 26 states nationwide have enacted laws addressing drones and six more have adopted related resolutions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. This year alone, 45 states have considered 154 drone-related bills, the group said. In the Northeast, New Hampshire passed a law prohibiting the use of drones for hunting, fishing or trapping and Rhode Island created a commission to study drone regulations.
 
States Begin Restricting, Prohibiting Police License Plate Readers
Government Technology
Nevertheless, growing concerns about possible abuse have led six states (Arkansas, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, Utah and Vermont) to enact laws that restrict or prohibit the technology, according to Pam Greenberg of the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Where's the line between donations and bribes?
Bucyrus Telegraph Forum
Donors can contribute more to Ohio lawmakers than legislators in any other state with limits; 12 states have none. In fact, Ohio’s campaign finance limit for lawmakers is five times higher than the national average, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A 2005 ballot initiative to lower Ohio’s limits failed overwhelmingly.
 
McLean County Health Department offering free meningitis vaccines for students
Press Examiner
Side effects from vaccinations, like any medication, certainly exist. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), about a dozen states were weighing immunization exemption laws. 

Downsides of Beacon Falls fuel-cell park
Waterbury Republican American
The National Conference of State Legislatures revealed that during the past two decades, 1,087 serious pipeline incidents occurred. Ninety-one percent were related to gas pipelines; of these, 78 percent were related to gas-distribution lines.

Nebraska families may launch medical pot ballot initiative
Modesto Bee
If it passes, Nebraska would join 23 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing marijuana for medical use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
PolitiFact Florida: Rubio claim on minors, tattoos and abortions is off
Tampabay.com
According to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 45 states have laws prohibiting minors from getting tattoos, with the majority of those states allowing it with parental consent. Florida law requires written, notarized consent of a minor's parent or legal guardian in order to tattoo a minor.
 
Common Core approaches crossroad in NC
News & Observer
A few of the 46 states that adopted Common Core have modified the guidelines or moved to throw them out. Thirty-nine states “rebranded” it, according to the National Council of State Legislatures. North Carolina is one of two states using Common Core standards while they’re under review.

August 14

Helping college students complete educational journey must be a top priority
MLive.com
The national discussion is shifting toward accountability, completion and student focus. To that end, and according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 32 states are already basing higher education funding on institutional performance.
 
Only One Person Flunked Maine's Welfare Drug Test
Huffington Post
Federal law bars people with prior drug felonies from receiving welfare benefits, but states can opt to do so anyway. Maine is one of at least five states that allow those with felony drug convictions to receive benefits if they receive adrug test, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures
 
New York State will ban sale of powdered alcohol
New York Daily News
With Cuomo’s signature, New York would join 22 other states that have passed legislation to ban powdered alcohol in recent months, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
West Jordan man faces revenge porn charge
KSL.com
Thirteen states, including Utah, have passed revenge porn laws in the past two years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
    
Marco Rubio says a minor can get an abortion -- but not a tattoo -- without parental consent
PolitiFact
According to data through March 2015 compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 45 states have laws prohibiting minors from getting tattoos, with the majority of those states allowing it if there’s parental consent. For example, Florida law requires written, notarized consent of a minor's parent or legal guardian in order to tattoo a minor.
 
States tell feds: stop undermining pot laws
SFGate
On Thursday, the National Conference of State Legislatures voted to urge the federal government to respect state marijuana laws. The resolution calls for amending the Controlled Substances Act and other federal laws ‘to explicitly allow states to set their own marijuana and hemp policies without federal interference’. It also ‘urges the administration not to undermine state marijuana and hemp policies’.
 
Municipal bankruptcies could backfire
Canton Daily Ledger
Federal bankruptcy law has many chapters. The most familiar are Chapter 7, which wipes out most debt; Chapter 11, which lets usually large companies reorganize finances; and Chapter 13, which protects the indebted party while repayments are planned. Chapter 9 lets municipalities go bankrupt – if their states permit it. Twelve states authorize Chapter 9 bankruptcies for municipalities; 12 more allow it under some circumstances, and 26 prohibit it. Since 2010, 37 local governments have gone bankrupt, just 8 municipalities, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In the last 60 years, only 63 municipalities have filed for bankruptcy.

State in need of proper impeachment process
The Register-Guard
According to the Sept. 11, 2013, bulletin of the National Conference of State Legislatures, “In most states, any registered voter can begin a recall campaign for any reason. Often, the reasons are political.
 
Del. Ken Plum: Continuing Education
Reston Now
My experience is that the annual summit of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) provides the best continuing education I can get as a legislator. In NCSL, states are referred to as “laboratories of democracy” as the states face most of the same challenges but often take different approaches to meet them. As lawmakers come together from throughout the country, there are numerous opportunities to share experiences and to learn from each other.

August 13

New Illinois law bans choke holds; gives guidelines on body cameras
Reuters
Other states to pass reform bills include Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland and California, but Illinois' law is one of the broadest and most comprehensive, said Rich Williams, policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Start Restricting Police License Plate Readers
Governing
Nevertheless, growing concerns about possible abuse have led six states (Arkansas, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, Utah and Vermont) to enact laws that restrict or prohibit the technology, according to Pam Greenberg of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
One year after Ferguson, still no body cameras on cops
Washington Examiner
At least 37 states this year have considered legislation on some aspect of body-warn cameras for law enforcement. Fifteen have enacted new laws this year and 19 states and the District of Columbia have some type of law on police cameras, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Pennsylvania Senator Launches Drone Moratorium Law
Government Technology
According to a legislative review by the National Conference of State Legislatures, 26 states have passed laws regulating the use of drones. However, the majority address their use by citizens and not the government.
 
State in need of proper impeachment process
The Register-Guard
According to the Sept. 11, 2013, bulletin of the National Conference of State Legislatures, “In most states, any registered voter can begin a recall campaign for any reason. Often, the reasons are political.
 
Bozeman schools ban e-cigarettes and powdered alcohol
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle
Some 44 states have banned electronic cigarette sales to minors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At the same time, 22 states have banned sales of powdered alcohol to customers of all ages. Montana may join them.
 
The GMO food labeling debate: What is it all about?
Kansas City Star
Vermont was the first state to label foods in May 2014. This year, state lawmakers across the country introduced 101 GMO bills, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.   
 
New director for Kentucky's Legislative Research Commission expected by Oct.1
State-Journal.com 
The National Conference of State Legislators’ 60-plus page draft of the LRC study found LRC employees felt there were no set policies or protocol for upward mobility within the Fortune 500-like organization and pay scales for starting employees varied depending sometimes, the interviewees felt, on who they knew.
 
More States Are Moving Toward Letting Ex-Felons Vote
Inverse
The National Conference of State Legislatures tracked 18 states this year that considered legislation to loosen the cuffs on felon voting rights, up from 13 states in 2014. Wyoming — one of the most restrictive states for felon voting rights — approved a bill at the start of the year to automatically restore rights to some nonviolent offenders without going through a state application process. Likewise California this month announced that roughly 60,000 former offenderswill get a chance to vote in the next election after years of being denied.
 
Few drug tests ordered for welfare users in Maine so far
Moulton Advertiser 
Federal law bars people with prior drug felonies from receiving welfare benefits, but states can opt to do so anyway. Maine is one of at least five states that allow those with felony drug convictions to receive benefits if they receive a drug test, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
States tell feds: stop undermining pot laws
San Francisco Gate
On Thursday, the National Conference of State Legislatures voted to urge the federal government to respect state marijuana laws. The resolution calls for amending the Controlled Substances Act and other federal laws ‘to explicitly allow states to set their own marijuana and hemp policies without federal interference’.

August 12

Fight over climate change policy comes to Va. as House Republicans dig in
Washington Post
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Virginia is one of 14 states where lawmakers have pushed for such legislation. A similar measure never made it to McAuliffe’s desk during this year’s session.

Overstock chairman has political missions in Washington DC and Utah
Reuters
The debate over sales taxes on online purchases has raged in Washington for two decades. The National Conference of State Legislatures estimated in 2012 that states lose some $23 billion every year from uncollected sales taxes.

Gronstal names president-elect of National Conference of State Legislatures 
Omaha World-Herald   
Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal has been named president-elect of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Sen. Mike Folmer launches drone moratorium law
Lebanon Daily News
According to a legislative review by the National Conference of State Legislatures, 26 states have passed laws regulating the use of drones. However, the majority address their use by citizens and not the government.

Fact-Checking John Oliver on Sex Education (Spoiler: He Was Pretty Accurate)
Education Week
The National Conference of State Legislatures backs up two facts Oliver stated in his report: just 22 states and the District of Columbia require public schools teach sex education (20 of which mandate sex education and HIV education), and "19 states require that if provided, sex education must be medically, factually or technically accurate. State definitions of 'medically accurate' vary, from requiring that the department of health review curriculum for accuracy, to mandating that curriculum be based on information from 'published authorities upon which medical professionals rely.' "

Does State Have Say on 'Obamacare' Rate Hikes?
Oklahoma Watch
According to a study published last year by the National Conference of State Legislatures, Oklahoma was one of six states classified by the federal government as having no “effective” state rate-review program for Affordable Care Act health insurance. The others were Alabama, Louisiana, Missouri, Texas and Wyoming.

Pollinator Legislation Picks Up
Ag Web
“States introduced over 50 [pollinator] bills in 2015,” says Jennifer Schultz, policy associate, National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Seven states, including Indiana and Minnesota, have laws aimed at protecting pollinators from pesticides, while California and Oregon limit neonicotinoids specifically. 

A look at teen pregnancy in Arkansas
SYNC
$143 million — Annual economic impact on the state to support teen pregnancy in 2008, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures

NV State Senator Awarded for Helping Caregivers
Public News Service
State Sen. Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, who received the Capitol Caregiver Award at the National Conference of State Legislatures annual summit in Seattle earlier this month, said caring for her ailing mother and dealing with her own health struggles have helped to inform her perspective on caregiving. - See more at: 

New national position for Gronstal
The Daily Nonpareil
In addition to being Iowa’s Senate Majority Leader, the Council Bluffs lawmaker has been named president-elect of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Testing the poor
The Courier
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 13 states have passed drug-testing laws for applicants for or recipients of public assistance. Similar proposals have been introduced in 18 other states.

August 11

Drone Ban May Ground Model Planes 
Wall Street Journal 
In 2015, 45 states have considered 154 drone-regulation bills, according to National Conference of State Legislatures. Seven of those states passed legislation this year, and several others voted for further study of the issue.

South Dakota state senator joins leadership of National Conference of State Legislatures 
Daily Journal 
Peters is serving as the vice president of the National Conference of State Legislatures. She will transition to the presidency of the organization in 2017.

State Legislator Stands Up for Family Caregivers While Battling Cancer 
AARP News 
Last week at the National Conference of State Legislatures’ annual summit, I was proud to be there when Barry Gold of AARP Nevada recognized Sen. Smith as an AARP Capitol Caregiver for her hard work and dedication to supporting family caregivers. In her remarks following the award presentation, Smith thanked her own family caregivers: “This award means the world to me, but this award should go to my family who has taken care of me all these months.”

NEWS TALK 780 KOH: RENO, SPARKS, TAHOE, CARSON AND ...
KKOH
State Senator Debbie Smith of Sparks has been given the “Capital Caregiver Award” at the National Conference of State Legislatures Summit in Seattle. The award recognizes her work to support family caregivers in Nevada. Smith was a leading voice supporting the passage of the “Care Act.”  The new law, passed by unanimous vote and signed by Governor Brian Sandoval in May, takes effect on January 1st.

Kentucky Pays Off $972 Million Loan For Unemployment Benefits ...
89.3 WFPL
Kentucky was one of 30 states to borrow money to pay off unemployment insurance expenses. Four states and the Virgin Islands still owe money to the federal government, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Drones give Pa. officers a new edge, but raise privacy concerns
Police News
So far, 26 states have enacted drone-related privacy laws, and all but a handful of states have at least considered such laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Homebrew: EPA slow to clean up its own mess in Animas River
The Colorado Independent
Colorado lawmakers travelled to Seattle this weekend for the National Conference of State Legislatures’ annual meeting to participate in a panel discussion about marijuana legalization. They shared their experience dealing with public consumption, pot clubs and drugged driving, as a handful of other states contemplate taking the plunge into legalization.

John Oliver Recruits Celebrities To Make The Sex Ed Video ...
Medical Daily
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only 22 states and the District of Columbia require that all public schools teach sex ed — 20 of which actually mandate sex ed and HIV education. Thirty-three states require that students receive some type of education regarding HIV/AIDS. Also, 35 states and the District of Columbia allow parents to opt-out of sex ed classes on behalf of their children.

State senator joins leadership of national lawmaker group
Sioux City Journal
Peters is serving as the vice president of the National Conference of State Legislatures. She will transition to the presidency of the organization in 2017.

Missouri's Innovative Medicaid Reforms
Patch
At the recent National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) summit in Seattle, I had the opportunity to present to legislators from across the country on Missouri’s innovative work in oral healthcare and caring for children with asthma.

House Rep. Hans Zeiger receives civility in state government award 
TheNewsTribune.com 
Washington state House Representative Hans Zeiger, R-Puyallup, recently was honored as the co-recipient of the inaugural Gabrielle Giffords Award for Civility in State Government during the National Conference of State Legislators held in Seattle.

America's CUs make impact on state legislators at NCSL 
CUNA News Now 
America’s credit unions brought a high level of credit union awareness to state lawmakers last week at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Legislative Summit in Seattle.

Aadhaar and Right to Privacy - Global Digital Experiences
Niticentral
National Conference of State Legislatures on the 24thof February 2015 gave an overview of what is the rule in California of the US for the protection of children’s online privacy.

States Compete for Military Retirees
Ktoo
Nine states have no income tax. Of the 41 that do, 14 of them—Alabama, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin—exempt all military pensions from taxation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Another 20 provide a partial exemption, as does the District of Columbia. Seven states—California, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and Virginia—provide no exemption.

Diverse Conversations: 5 Ways to Maintain College Diversity ...
Diverse: Issues in Higher Education
The positive impact of affirmative action on the diversity of college campuses is hard to deny. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that affirmative action programs have doubled, and in some cases tripled, the number of minority applicants to colleges and universities

August 10

Trump talks Obamacare alternative 
Washington Examiner 
Only nine states had entered into compacts as of May 2014: Kansas, Alabama, South Carolina, Utah, Indiana, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas and Missouri, according to 2014 data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

NCSL Awards Best Legislative Documents of the Year 
CQ Roll Call 
Here’s something the wonky among us will love: a list of the best legislative documents produced in the last year, as chosen by the National Conference of State Legislatures through its Notable Document Awards.

On marijuana, state lawmakers tell feds to butt out 
The Denver Post 
The lawmakers — representing 49 states — passed the resolution at the National Conference of State Legislatures annual summit in Seattle with overwhelming support on a voice vote.

Drones give law enforcement a new edge, but raise concerns
Philly.com
So far, 26 states have enacted drone-related privacy laws, and all but a handful of states have at least considered such laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Pols seek more protections for police watchers
Boston Herald
Similar legislation has yet to appear in Massachusetts, it seems. But according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, lawmakers filed bills to “clarify which behaviors are legal and illegal while filming police” in at least 10 states this year, noting that what “qualifies as interfering with or jeopardizing the safety of an officer is a gray area.”

Hemp promoters say crop should be legalized, grown in Wyoming
Casper Star-Tribune Online
Despite the federal ban, 20 states have passed laws that have legalized it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Canada To Ban The Tiny Plastic Microbeads Found In Toothpaste ...
Rapid News Network
Six states – Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, Colorado, Indiana, and Maryland – have enacted legislation to restrict the use of microbeads, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, while bills are pending in others, including Michigan, Minnesota, Washington and Oregon, The New York Times reports.

What are microbeads and why is Canada banning them? 
Christian Science Monitor 
Six states — Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, Colorado, Indiana, and Maryland — have enacted legislation to restrict the use of microbeads, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, while bills are pending in others, including Michigan, Minnesota, Washington and Oregon, The New York Times reports.

Provo's Curt Bramble to lead national organization 
Daily Herald 
Utah State Sen. Curt Bramble was elected Thursday to become the next president of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a bipartisan organization that acts as a collective voice in representing the states before Congress.

Highlights from the National Conference of State Legislatures 
The Capitol Record 
TVW taped several sessions at this week’s National Conference of State Legislatures in Seattle. These will air Aug. 7-9th at 9:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. each day on TVW. Or watch the sessions anytime online:

US Voting Restrictions Fuel Tensions
Voice of America
As of this spring, 32 states had voter identification laws in place; North Carolina will join them in 2016, the National Conference of State Legislatures reports. Most of the new measures have been introduced and implemented by Republican-led legislatures.

Microsoft offers more parental leave, but not as much as Netflix
Press Examiner
Outside that, California, New Jersey and Rhode Island use a program funded by payroll taxes to provide some paid family and medical leave, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Advocates fight to extinguish flame retardants used in toys, furniture 
Eagle-Tribune 
At least 13 states -- including California, Maine, New York and Vermont -- ban flame-retardant products, while a dozen other states are considering similar restrictions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

What to Know About New Maternity, Paternity Leave From Microsoft ...
Sentinel Republic
“After the war they realized it was very important that women work and have children”. Outside that, California, New Jersey and Rhode Island use a program funded by payroll taxes to provide some paid family and medical leave, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Apple, Reddit and Twitter all offer at least 16 weeks of paid maternity leave, in addition to substantial time off to fathers.

States Cast Resounding Vote To Set Own Cannabis Policies 
The Leaf Online 
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), one of the largest and most influential gatherings of state lawmakers in the union, has cast a resounding vote demanding that the federal government end its interference in the nearly 40 states which have passed some form of cannabis reform. After garnering a unanimous vote in committee, the resolution received approval of over 75% of state delegations at this year’s conference, held in Seattle, Washington.

Utah State Senator Curt Bramble to Lead NCSL 
Utah Policy 
Curt Bramble, president pro tem of the Utah Senate, became the 43rd president of the National Conference of State Legislatures at the annual Legislative Summit.

Advocates push for driving privileges for illegal immigrants
Fox11
Currently 12 states and the District of Columbia allow illegal immigrants the opportunity to have legal driving privileges, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures

Website of Tennessee Legislature wins Online Democracy Award 
The Idaho Statesman 
The Tennessee General Assembly's website has won the 2015 Online Democracy Award from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

National Conference of State Legislatures Urges Federal Government to Respect State Marijuana
The Daily Chronic 
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) approved a resolution Thursday urging the federal government to allow states to determine their own marijuana policies.

State Legislators Celebrate with HRC at NCSL Conference in Seattle 
Human Rights
This past week, I attended the annual National Conference of State Legislatures Summit (NCSL) in Seattle, Washington. Throughout the conference, we met legislators from across the country that congratulated us on the recent Supreme Court victory.

Reading program for kids seeks volunteers 
Kern Golden Empire 
A longitudinal study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that students who were not proficient in reading by the end of third grade were four times more likely to drop out of high school than proficient readers. In fact, 88 percent of students who failed to earn a high school diploma were struggling readers in third grade. (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2014)

Cannabis News Roundup: 08.07.15 
KALW 
“The National Conference of State Legislatures, the de facto bipartisan group of lawmakers, passed a resolution Thursday calling on the federal government to amend the 

Drunk on power: Liquor distributors ply statehouses to keep profits flowing 
WCPO 
At least 22 states had bills in 2015 seeking to allow alcohol makers to circumvent distributors and sell their products directly to customers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Federal law to prevent lead poisoning goes largely unenforced 
Press Herald 
Mark Farquhar, an attorney with the National Conference of State Legislatures who has studied lead laws across the country, said the lack of enforcement creates a terrible choice for contractors. “If they go by the law, they’re at a competitive disadvantage; if they don’t, they could poison a kid and they’re going to be liable for it,” said Farquhar.

These States Make It Hard To Breast-feed 
Vocativ 
There are currently 27 states with laws generally relating to breast-feeding and the workplace, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

National Conference of State Legislatures 
AARP States 
At the 2015 National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Legislative Summit in Seattle, Washington, AARP presented Senator Debbie Smith with its Capitol Caregiver Award, recognizing her outstanding work to support family caregivers in Nevada. Smith, who also currently serves as NCSL president, joins an elite bipartisan group of state legislators and governors recognized for advancing policies to help unpaid family caregivers who are making it possible for older Americans to live independently at home – where they want to be. 

Utah sees new opportunity to share state solutions 
Official Blog for Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert - Utah.gov 
Gov. Herbert is the newly appointed Chair of the National Governors Association, a bipartisan organization of the nation’s governors. Utah State Sen. Curt Bramble took over as head of the National Conference of State Legislatures on Wednesday.

President Niederhauser statement on Senator Curt Bramble NCSL Presidency 
Utah Politico Hub 
“The Utah Senate congratulates Curt Bramble on his election as President of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Curt is smart, seasoned, and he gets things done. He is the right fit for NCSL’s top position at this time in our nation’s history.

State legislators support climate action at NCSL's Seattle conference 
Natural Resources Defense Council
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the largest non-partisan organization supporting state legislators, hosted the four day summit to explore the wide variety of issues that confront states.

State Legislators Ask Congress to Repeal National Pot Prohibition 
Reason
This week the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) approved a resolution that urges Congress to amend federal laws "to explicitly allow states to set their own marijuana and hemp policies without federal interference." The resolution also urges the Obama administration "not to undermine state marijuana and hemp policies.

Website of Tennessee Legislature wins Online Democracy Award 
The Ledger 
The Tennessee General Assembly's website has won the 2015 Online Democracy Award from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Group says Wyoming falls short in cancer prevention 
Wyoming Tribune 
Harvey recently attended the National Conference of State Legislators and heard something that increased her interest in sponsoring the bill

In Maine, resistance to Common Core has led to few changes — for now 
Bangor Daily News 
Of those 750, just 138 have been adopted or enacted, according to a dashboard of legislation assembled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. About 470 failed or were vetoed by governors, while the rest are pending.

August 7

State lawmakers to Congress: Butt out of our marijuana laws
Washington Post
The National Conference of State Legislatures, the de facto bipartisan group of lawmakers, passed a resolution at its annual meeting Thursday calling on the federal government to amend the Controlled Substances Act to authorize state marijuana laws and on the administration to keep its nose out of state pot policies.

Appeals Court Rules Texas Voter-ID Law Must Be Relaxed 
Wall Street Journal 
More than 30 states require some form of voter identification at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Post-Ferguson Legislative Push Mostly Fizzled 
Wall Street Journal 
In the wake of the Aug. 9, 2014, shooting, legislators from at least 42 states proposed bills on body cameras, investigations into deaths involving police, collecting data on use of force, and combating racial profiling through training or other means, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bills in 15 of these states have been signed into law.
 
Sen. Curt Bramble new head of national legislatures organization
Deseret News
Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, was named president of the National Conference of State Legislatures on Thursday at the annual meeting of the organization for lawmakers and their staffs. "NCSL has proven to be one of the most valuable resources for state legislatures across the country and I am excited to serve," Bramble said, calling the organization "the prominent voice for states" in Washington, D.C.
 
State Legislatures Call for Overhaul of Federal Drug Laws
U.S. News & World Report
The National Conference of State Legislatures approved the policy statement in a voice vote Thursday, throwing its support behind a states’ rights position that polls often find more popular than specific drug law reforms. “[T]he National Conference of State Legislatures believes that federal laws, including the Controlled Substances Act, should be amended to explicitly allow states to set their own marijuana and hemp policies without federal interference and urges the administration not to undermine state marijuana and hemp policies,” the resolution says.

 
Website of Tennessee Legislature wins Online Democracy Award
The Idaho Statesman
The Tennessee General Assembly's website has won the 2015 Online Democracy Award from the National Conference of State Legislatures. The award is presented annually to a legislature, chamber or caucus for making democracy accessible in a user-friendly way. 

State Lawmakers Want Feds To Respect Their Marijuana Laws
Huffington Post
The National Conference of State Legislatures, a nongovernment organization composed of state lawmakers and their staffs, passed a resolution Thursday urging the federal government to amend the Controlled Substances Act and other federal laws "to explicitly allow states to set their own marijuana and hemp policies without federal interference" and to refrain from undermining state marijuana and hemp laws.
 
Colorado, Washington legislators lead pot panel at lawmaker conference 
The Denver Post 
More than possibly any single forum, the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures' annual meeting this week in Seattle is showcasing the nation's robust discussion right now on legalizing marijuana.

Lawmakers' group meets in Seattle to discuss legalized pot
The Seattle Times
Speaking before several hundred people at a panel during a convention of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, cautioned that Washington state should be careful not to be too optimistic about marijuana-tax revenue.
 
Utah senator steps up to lead national lawmakers’ group
The Salt Lake Tribune
Utah Sen. Curt Bramble was installed Thursday as president of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) at the bipartisan group's annual summit in Seattle.
 
Updates from the National Conference of State Legislatures 
The Marshall Democrat
I hope everyone is having a good week! I have been in Seattle, Wash., for the National Conference of State Legislatures--Legislative Summit and Military and Veterans Affairs Task Force meeting. It has been a productive gathering, and always a pleasure to meet with legislators from other states. This capitol report has a few notes from the meeting and some other statewide news.
 
Death penalty repeal cited by national progressives 
Lincoln Journal Star 
The ranking by the State Innovation Exchange, a resource and strategy center that supports progressive policies, was released during the annual legislative summit of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Lawmakers take trip to Seattle for meeting 
NewsOK.com 
This week, Seattle's stunning Puget Sound forms the backdrop for a National Conference of State Legislatures meeting that has attracted a bipartisan crowd of representatives, senators and staff members from the Sooner State.
 
Ohio bill would create drug-testing program for some welfare applicants; ACLU opposed 
Minneapolis Star Tribune 
At least 13 states have passed drug-testing or -screening legislation for people receiving or applying for public assistance, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Will Your Boss Match Netflix's Yearlong Paid Leave?
Hartford Courant
Federal law requires only unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child. Outside that, California, New Jersey and Rhode Island use a program funded by payroll taxes to provide some paid family and medical leave, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Legislative Reforms Lagging a Year After Michael Brown's Death
CBS Local
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only four states – California, Connecticut, Nevada and South Carolina – passed legislation requiring body cameras for police officers in the past year, with several others approving measures related to funding and researching cameras.

National State Legislators Group Demands Federal Govt To Reform ...
Daily Caller
The National Conference of State Legislatures has just passed a resolution demanding the federal government amend the Controlled Substances Act to let states treat marijuana as they see fit.
 
Drunk on power: Liquor distributors ply statehouses to keep profits ...
WCPO
At least 22 states had bills in 2015 seeking to allow alcohol makers to circumvent distributors and sell their products directly to customers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Robert Gates Says U.S. Got 'Out-Negotiated' on Iran Deal, Backs It ...
The Fiscal Times
Speaking to a conference of state legislators in Seattle Wednesday, the highly regarded Gates raised major concerns about the agreement, but argued that the consequences of walking away from it would be too great. 

Daily Talker: Netflix, Microsoft Parental Leave
Celebrity Cafe - Entertainment News
Outside that, California, New Jersey and Rhode Island use a program funded by payroll taxes to provide some paid family and medical leave, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Netflix offers parents the ultimate baby bonus
iFreePress.com
Outside that, California, New Jersey and Rhode Island use a program funded by payroll taxes to provide some paid family and medical leave, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Why poor people still aren't voting
WZVN-TV
Perhaps the biggest change to our electoral process in the last few years is the proliferation of Voter ID laws, which many states put in place to prevent fraud. Since 2008, 17 states have enacted laws requiring citizens to prove who they are at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.

Can Cincinnati take its safe-passing bike law even further?
WCPO
Data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures shows nearly half the states mandate a 3-foot passing rule, stating drivers must leave no less than 3 feet between car and bicycle when overtaking a cyclist on the road.
 
NCSL tells feds to butt out of state pot laws
capitolfax.com
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) approved a resolution Thursday urging the federal government to allow states to determine their own marijuana policies.

August 6

Robert Gates: We Have a Flawed Iran Deal. Make the Best of It.
Morning Consult
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday harshly criticized the proposed nuclear agreement struck last month between an international coalition, led by the United States, and Iran. But, he said, now that the deal has been struck, the consequences of walking away would be too great.

Post-Ferguson Legislative Push Mostly Fizzled
Wall Street Journal
In the wake of the Aug. 9 shooting, legislators from at least 42 states proposed bills on body cameras, investigations into deaths involving police, collecting data on use of force, and combating racial profiling through training or other means, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bills in 15 of these states have been signed into law.
 
Colorado, Washington legislators lead pot panel at lawmaker conference
The Denver Post
To start the discussion, the moderator asked a room full of lawmakers from across the country to raise green index cards if their state was considering a measure to legalize marijuana. The hands shot into the air and the color said it all. "A lot of green in the room," the moderator observed. "A lot of green." More than possibly any single forum, the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures' annual meeting this week in Seattle is showcasing the nation's robust discussion right now on legalizing marijuana.
 
Wining, dining and marijuana policy talk on agenda as lawmakers converge on Seattle
Seattle Times
Lawmakers and others from around the country attended a discussion Wednesday to learn from Washington and Colorado how best to think about legal marijuana and regulate it.
 
California could allow more felons to vote, in major shift 
Los Angeles Times 
They note that 23 states have modified voting laws or adopted more lenient ones since 1997. Eighteen states this year debated legislation to relax restrictions further, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.
 
Lawmakers take trip to Seattle for meeting
News OK
Last month, the beaches of San Diego shimmered outside an American Legislative Exchange Council conference that was a favorite for Republicans. This week, Seattle's stunning Puget Sound forms the backdrop for a National Conference of State Legislatures meeting that has attracted a bipartisan crowd of representatives, senators and staff members from the Sooner State.

Drug tests pushed for welfare recipients 
Dayton Daily News 
Thirteen states have drug testing programs for public assistance recipients and 18 others are considering them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

'A Girl in the Race'? Sue Minter Weighs a Run for Governor 
Seven Days 
"I've made a decision, but I'm not going to announce it for a couple weeks," Smith said Monday by phone from Seattle, Wash., where he and other Vermont lawmakers are attending the National Conference of State Legislatures.

US Voting Restrictions Fuel Tensions 
Voice of America 
As of this spring, 32 states had voter identification laws in place; North Carolina will join them in 2016, the National Conference of State Legislatures reports. Most of the new measures have been introduced and implemented by Republican-led legislatures. While some states permit the use of bank statements, student IDs or other evidence of state residence, stricter ones require approved photo IDs, such as government-issued driver's licenses and passports.

Herbert's chairing of U.S. governors group puts Utah on national stage 
Deseret News 
And he's one of several Utahns with leadership roles of national prominence — Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker presiding over the National League of Cities, Utah State Sen. Curt Bramble the National Conference of State Legislatures and U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch and Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz key congressional committees.

COPP says no new rules on child donors in Montana 
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle
Research by the National Conference of State Legislatures in 2006 showed a hodge-podge of rules which range from an outright ban on persons under 18 from making contributions and others that attribute the donation to the parent or guardian.

Gas tax up 7 cents to pay for projects 
Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce
Washington wasn't the only state to increase its gas tax this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Utah all increased their taxes, while two other states — Kentucky and North Carolina — altered the structure of their gas taxes in order to limit decreasing revenues.
 
Chief Strachan urges legislators to support child abuse prevention programs 
Bremerton Patriot 
Bremerton Police Chief Steve Strachan spoke at the National Conference of State Legislatures Legislative Summit Early Learning Fellows meeting August 2.

Sanders seeks government-funded campaigns 
BurlingtonFreePress.com 
Thirteen states, including Vermont, allow some form of public financing for qualifying state office candidates, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Recommendation for new prison site could come next week 
KSL.com 
He and other Utah lawmakers are attending the National Conference of State Legislatures meeting in Seattle. Herbert will address the group Wednesday.

Why Ohio may start drug testing welfare recipients 
Christian Science Monitor 
A growing number of states – now 13 – have passed bills to test or screen public assistance recipients for drugs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Among the recently contested states are Michigan, Florida, Wisconsin, and Kansas. Broad testing rules in Florida were struck down in 2013, when a district court ruled that the law violated Fourth Amendment protections from unreasonable search. 

UPDATED: Iowa House speaker to step down from role; won't run in 2016 
Dubuque Telegraph Herald 
Jochum, who is attending a national conference of state legislators in Seattle, said she found out about the decision this morning. Jochum said she will seek to "work with whomever the House decides" to replace Paulsen.

Death penalty repeal cited by national progressives 
Lincoln Journal Star 
The ranking by the State Innovation Exchange, a resource and strategy center that supports progressive policies, was released during the annual legislative summit of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

While legislators jet off to confer, budget idles on taxiway 
The Outer Banks Voice 
Now, according to a WRAL story, several leadership members of both chambers are on their way to Seattle to attend the National Conference of State Legislators Summit scheduled to be held from Monday, Aug. 3 through Thursday, Aug. 6.

Ohio Proposal Seeks to Drug Test Some Welfare Applicants 
ABC News 
At least 13 states have passed drug-testing or -screening legislation for people receiving or applying for public assistance, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In June, Michigan's governor signed a state budget that included $300,000 to implement a pilot program in three counties to give drug tests to welfare recipients suspected of substance abuse.

Group Files to Help States Fighting Soros-Backed Voter ID Lawsuits
The Washington Free Beacon 
As of March 25, 2015, a total of 34 states have passed voter identification laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of the 34 states, 32 currently have laws that are enforced.
 
Reader's Watchdog: Pedophile was never pardoned
DesMoinesRegister.com
Today, more states are considering legislation to ease voting restrictions for people convicted of a felony — 18 this year versus 13 last year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

August 5

IRS, Justice, States Confront Wave of Tax Refund Fraud
“This is a new type of crime for the 21st century. It’s part white-collar, it’s part street crime,” Cory Smith, a senior litigator at the Department of Justice and a member of the interagency panel set up to fight the fraud, said at the annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
States passed 153 immigration laws in the first half of the year. Here's what they do 
The laws — passed by all but nine states — affect everything from budgets to education to health care to licensing and human trafficking, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Welcome to the NCSL Legislative Summit
here are many reasons to head to the Emerald City. But for roughly 5,000 people this week, the reason is the National Conference of State Legislatures annual Legislative Summit. And it’s a good one. 
 
What's the Right Way to Teach Civics? 
On Monday, the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks state legislation, reported that seven states—Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah—passed such laws in the first half of the year; in July, they were joined by Wisconsin.
 
California could allow more felons to vote, in major shift
They note that 23 states have modified voting laws or adopted more lenient ones since 1997. Eighteen states this year debated legislation to relax restrictions further, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.
 
AIR Experts to Present at the Legislative Summit of the National Conference of State Legislatures 
American Institutes for Research (AIR) experts Mark Schneider and Angela Minnici will present at the Legislative Summit hosted by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) August 3-6 in Seattle, WA. Dr. Schneider will be on a panel examining future job prospects and implications for policymakers.
 
CUNA Joins State Lawmakers in Seattle 
Ryan Donovan, CUNA’s chief advocacy officer, said CUNA and several state leagues have been out in full force to ensure state lawmakers and more than 1,000 members of their staff who are also in attendance learn more about credit unions and how they affect their states. Although no policies will be made at the National Conference of State Legislatures Summit, several banking regulation policies are up for renewal soon.
 
US Voting Restrictions Fuel Tensions
As of this spring, 32 states had voter identification laws in place; North Carolina will join them in 2016, the National Conference of State Legislatures reports. Most of the new measures have been introduced and implemented by Republican-led legislatures. While some states permit the use of bank statements, student IDs or other evidence of state residence, stricter ones require approved photo IDs, such as government-issued driver's licenses and passports
 
New prison site could be recommended next week
He and other Utah lawmakers are attending the National Conference of State Legislatures meeting in Seattle. Herbert will address the group Wednesday.
 
Herbert's chairing of U.S. governors group puts Utah on national stage
There’s little doubt that Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s new role as chairman of the National Governors Association is a boon for the Beehive State. And he's one of several Utahns with leadership roles of national prominence — Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker presiding over the National League of Cities, Utah State Sen. Curt Bramble the National Conference of State Legislatures and U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch and Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz key congressional committees.
 
Don't forget to vote in today's primary election 
According to the National Conference of State Legislature’s website, Mississippi is a hybrid primary state, which means the election system falls somewhere between open and closed.
 
Congress' Newest Attempt to Legislate Over Quill
Recently, the Remote Transactions Parity Act of 2015 (“RTPA”;H.R. 2775) has been introduced to the House Committee on the Judiciary. Its introduction was due to Representative Jason Chaffetz’s (R-UT) promise to replace the Marketplace Fairness Act (“MFA”; died as H.R. 684; reintroduced in the Senate this year as S. 698), to the National Conference of State Legislatures when he spoke to it in December 2014.
 
COPP says no new rules on child donors in Montana
Research by the National Conference of State Legislatures in 2006 showed a hodge-podge of rules which range from an outright ban on persons under 18 from making contributions and others that attribute the donation to the parent or guardian.
 
Sanders seeks government-funded campaigns
Thirteen states, including Vermont, allow some form of public financing for qualifying state office candidates, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Drug tests pushed for welfare recipients
Thirteen states have drug testing programs for public assistance recipients and 18 others are considering them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Chief Strachan urges legislators to support child abuse prevention 
Bremerton Police Chief Steve Strachan spoke at the National Conference of State Legislatures Legislative Summit Early Learning Fellows meeting August 2. At the summit, the nation's largest gathering of state legislators and staff, Strachan advocated for research-based home visiting programs and high-quality early learning programs as effective crime prevention strategies. 
 
Ohio lawmakers push for drug testing for those on public assistance ...
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 13 states have passed such drug-testing laws for applicants or recipients of public assistance. Similar proposals have been introduced in another 18 states. 
 
Which States Have the Most Women in their Legislatures?
Almost 29 percent of Hawaii’s lawmakers this year are women, according to July data from the National Conference on State Legislatures.
 
Editorial: Drawing the Districts — Panel Is an Idea Whose Time Is Here
Keeping that at the forefront, it might be worthwhile to explore such a commission. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, seven states — Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Montana, New Jersey and Washington — already utilize such a panel.

August 4

Adrift in D.C., Immigration Reforms Take Hold in States
Morning Consult
“The problem that I see is that the states are all reacting differently,” South Dakota state Sen. Craig Tieszen (R) told fellow legislators at an immigration panel sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislators. “We are passing laws in our various states that treat people very differently,” he said. The absence of federal action is spurring renewed interest in state action. Legislators in 46 states and Puerto Rico enacted 153 laws relating to immigration reform in the first half of 2015, according to a report released Monday by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

New York just made it harder to buy a realistic-looking toy gun
Washington Post
National Conference of State Legislatures records show that sales of imitation guns are restricted in at least 12 states, the Associated Press reported.

New York Reaches Accords With Sellers of Toy Guns
CNBC
Momentum has grown to restrict toy guns over the past year, set off in part by the death of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy who was playing with a toy gun when he was shot by a police officer in Cleveland in November. In 2015, lawmakers in Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, Ohio and Washington introduced legislation to create or amend toy gun laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Half a dozen states, as well as Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., already have laws on the books, according to the organization.

Landmark US Voting Rights Law Marks 50th Anniversary
Voice of America
States have been tinkering with their voting laws especially since the drawn-out, narrowly decided presidential race of 2000, said Wendy Underhill, who manages the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures' election laws section. "States are the laboratories of democracy" and legitimately can make adjustments, she said, adding that, though states have autonomy, they can't violate federal law.

Health care professionals have licenses suspended for defaulting on student loans
Chattanooga Times Free Press
Dustin Weeden, a policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said he expects to see more conversation around the issue in coming years. "With the rise in student default rates, it's causing some states to take a second look to see if they're working as intended," he said.

Retirement Security a Focus of State Lawmaker Summit
SanJuanIslander.com
At the National Conference of State Legislators Summit, AARP plans to encourage other states to do the same.

Walmart, Sears, Amazon & Other Retailers Agree Not To Sell Realisti-Lookng Toy Guns in NY
The Consumerist
Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Nebraska and New York all introduced legislation to create or amend toy gun laws, while about a half dozen others already have laws on the books, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
How much have you saved for retirement? 
AARP News  
Work and Save isn’t just great for employers and employees, but states too. This week, I’ll be joining over 1,000 policymakers in Seattle at the annual legislative summit convened by the National Conference of State Legislatures to share some of the many benefits of Work and Save for states.

WyoLotto officials paint new picture of lottery proceeds 
Beaumont Enterprise 
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimated revenues would range from $5 million to $9 million.
 
Retailers gear up for tax-free weekend 
Times Daily 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 17 states had at least one sales tax holiday in 2014.

National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Legislative Summit 
Census.gov 
Visit the Census Bureau at the National Conference of State Legislatures Legislative Summit. ACS, Geography and 2020 staff will be on hand in the exhibit space to answer questions.

Sen. Martha Fuller Clark travels to Seattle for National Conference of State Legislators Legislative Summit
Patch
Senator Martha Fuller Clark will join fellow state legislative leaders for the National Conference of State Legislators annual Legislative Summit from on August 3rd through the 6th in Seattle, Washington. The NCSL is a bipartisan, national organization serving legislators from across the country. “This is going to provide me an opportunity to learn from my colleagues across the country how they are dealing with challenges we are all facing. I’m especially interested in hearing about emerging best practices regarding energy efficiency and renewables, new approaches to funding transportation, and the regulatory issues raised by the so-called ‘sharing economy’,” said Fuller Clark. “I’m looking forward to a day-long seminar on how states are confronting the public safety concerns we’re seeing raised in Portsmouth by Uber.” 
 
Youth group offers a ‘dose of help’
Gulf News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures in the US, ‘drug recycling’ or redistribution programs allow residents to return unused prescribed medicines in sealed packaging, which are then redistributed to the needy, who cannot afford to purchase their prescribed medication.

The real value of a $15 minimum wage depends on where you live
Pew Research Center
Although the federal minimum wage has been $7.25 an hour since 2009, 29 states and the District of Columbia have enacted their own, higher minimums, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures – including all but two (New Hampshire and Virginia) of the 15 states with above-average RPPs.
 
New York Milks $300K from Retailers Over Toy Gun Sales
Legal Insurrection
In 2015, lawmakers in Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, Ohio and Washington introduced legislation to create or amend toy gun laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Half a dozen states, as well as Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., already have laws on the books, according to the organization.
 
Andy Shaw: Mike Madigan's property tax law work not illegal, but ...
Reboot Illinois
“There are a lot of factors that make comparisons difficult,” says ethics expert Mark Quiner from the National Conference of State Legislatures. “Every state struggles with ethical issues and there’s no single correct approach.

August 3

Can rent control fix the gap between wages and housing costs?
"For the most part, housing and rent control is a local issue," said Doug Farquhar of theNational Conference of State Legislatures. "You don't see the state getting too involved with landlord-tenant laws. A city … would adopt something and the state would stay out of it. But if a state will say, 'We will pre-empt you,' the city cannot come up with rent control."
 
Four teachers detail why it's a struggle to pump breast milk at school
In more than half the states, teachers have no legal right to pump on the job, according to state laws compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
States eye new ways to change Obamacare 
"The waivers can include broad change as well as very specific or focused change," said Dick Cauchi, health program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "How do benefits look, how are premiums set, how are essential benefits — all of those aspects which tie to exchanges, all those are open to consideration."
 
Teen birth rates highest in Las Vegas' poorest neighborhoods
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the teen birth rate in Nevada is near the national median, but the study did not look specifically at impoverished teen mothers, though it did find that in all states, two-thirds of unwed teenage mothers are poor.
 
Retailers gear up for tax-free weekend
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 17 states had at least one sales tax holiday in 2014.
 
First legal medical pot sold in Nevada 15 years after approval
On average it takes nine to 18 months for stores to open following legislative approval, said Karmen Hanson, marijuana analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of the 25 states and territories that approved medical pot, most are up and operational. "By two years, there's usually something," Hanson said.
 
Goodman appointed vice chair of National Conference on State Legislatures' Law and Criminal Justice Committee 
Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Kirkland), an attorney and criminal justice expert, has been appointed vice chair of the National Conference on State Legislatures’ (NCSL) Law and Criminal Justice Committee.
 
1st legal medical pot sold in Nevada 15 years after approval 
On average it takes nine to 18 months for stores to open following legislative approval, said Karmen Hanson, marijuana analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of the 25 states and territories that approved medical pot, most are up and operational. “By two years, there’s usually something,” Hanson said.
 
Legislator proposes banning exotic animals as Milwaukee officials hunt for urban lion 
Wisconsin is one of five states that don't regulate exotic animal ownership, according to Born Free USA, a national nonprofit organization that works to protect wildlife and encourage conservation, and the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Gas Price Goes Up in Washington 
In fact, the National Conference of State Legislature reported that Washington is not the only state that made the decision to increase gas taxes. Utah, Nebraska, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho and South Dakota have done it too  and the decreasing trend has been stopped in North Carolina and Kentucky.
 
Gas tax increases by 7 cents in Washington state 
Washington wasn't the only state to increase its gas tax this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Utah all increased their taxes, while two other states — Kentucky and North Carolina — altered the structure of their gas taxes in order to limit decreasing revenues.
 
Expectation management: WyoLotto officials paint new picture for proceeds to local governments 
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimated revenues would range from $5 million to $9 million. One lobbyist claimed the state could earn more than $80 million a year from the lottery, according to the Star-Tribune’s archives.
 
Chamber Corner: August ushers in Motorcycle Mania, UConn Coach Bob Diaco 
Senator Daily had concurrent responsibility throughout her 20-year tenure as either vice-chair or member of almost every committee of the General Assembly. She also served on the Fiscal Chairs Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures where she represented our state.
 
Petition circulating regarding drug testing for welfare benefits 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 13 states have already passed laws that require drug testing or screening for public assistance, including Utah, Tennessee, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Missouri, Mississippi, Michigan, Kansas, Florida, Georgia, Arizona, Arkansas and Alabama; however in Florida a judge ruled to permanently cease enforcement of the law, stating that it violated constitutional protections against unreasonable searches.
 
Hillary Clinton Backs Obama's Climate Change Plan, But Environmentalists Frustrated
A map of the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan, proposed in June 2014, shows possible emissions reduction targets for each state.  National Conference of State Legislatures Graph and Data Cited.
 
The Saturday Morning Post: Aug. 1
Speaking of online voting, in an interview with the National Conference of State Legislatures’ elections newsletter House Judiciary Committee Chairman Cale Keable said he hopes the Senate will approve the legislation if lawmakers reconvene before the end of the year.