NCSL in the News: December 2013

12/1/2013

Dec. 30

Red, blue states move in opposite directions in a new era of single-party control
Karl Kurtz, a political scientist at the National Conference of State Legislatures, noted in an article published this year that Republicans control both houses of the legislatures in 22 of the 24 states carried by Mitt Romney in 2012 and that Democrats hold majorities in 18 of the 26 states won by Obama. “This picture of Republican-controlled states doing exactly the opposite of what Democratic-controlled states do on these issues is relatively recent,” Kurtz said. “Even in past generations, even when they had the hammer, when they had unified government, when they might have had a supermajority or veto-proof majority control, I think there was more of a tendency to negotiate with the minority than there is today.” The Washington Post

New laws in 2014: From tanning bed bans to 'lemon pets'
Illinois becomes the sixth state to keep teens out of the facilities, part of a growing trend of regulating teen use of tanning facilities to help reduce the risk of skin cancer, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a Washington-based group that tracks lawmaking. "I think state legislatures will be faced with the marijuana issue" in 2014, says Jane Carroll Andrade, NCSL's spokeswoman. "Other states are watching Colorado and Washington because it will continue to come up," Andrade says. USA Today

St. Cloud-area counties to start testing aid recipients for drug use
At least nine U.S. states have passed legislation regarding drug testing or screening for public assistance applicants or recipients, according to Rochelle Finzel, director of children and families program of the National Conference of State Legislatures. St. Cloud Times and USA Today

New Year, new laws: Obamacare, pot, guns and drones
(Sourcing: much of this list was obtained from the National Conference of State Legislatures). CNN

Drones, placentas and transgender students: New laws in 2014 cover much ground
They cover everything from the minimum wage to tanning beds to drones, some a bit more unusual than others. But residents might want to brush up on the changes -- state lawmakers approved nearly 40,000 bills and resolutions this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Here are some more highlights (which were compiled by the NCSL) of what's in store for 2014. Fox News

Ohio prison shop meets demand for specialty plates
Such plates are most prevalent in a handful of populous, politically attuned East Coast states. New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia — and now Ohio — offer more than 200 specialty plates each, while Maryland offers more than 700, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. The State

Government Accountability Boardwalks a fine political line in state
About a dozen other states have elections boards, but they are bipartisan boards, said Wendy Underhill, program manager for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Wisconsin State Journal/Fond du Lac Reporter

New cell laws may cost commuters
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 12 states along with the District of Columbia prohibit using hand-held cellphones while driving. A total of 41 states and the District of Columbia ban text messaging. AP/herald-review.com

Lebanon prison meets demand for Ohio’s specialty license plates
New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia — and now Ohio — offer more than 200 specialty plates each, while Maryland offers more than 700, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. The Columbus Dispatch

South Dakota lawmakers will deal with money, moral issues
A study by the National Conference of State Legislatures recommended some changes after noting some lawmakers were dissatisfied with staff performance in writing bills. AP/Rapid City Journal

The Legislature might be better after the review
he 2014 session’s first Senate bill is the top reform recommended from that review, which was conducted by staff for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Capital Journal

Rep. Mike Denham: General Assembly’s top priority will be adopting budget to run state
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Kentucky is in line with most states that are not expecting either significant surpluses or deficits during the current fiscal year. kyforward.com

MERCER: Positive results from LRC review (column)
The 2014 session’s first Senate bill is the top reform recommended from that review, which was conducted by staff for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Rapid City Journal

Hands off your phone, drivers
Illinois will be the 12th state to ban hand-held use of cellphones while driving, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Daily Journal

COMMENTARY: JAGDISH BHAGWATI AND FRANCISCO RIVERA-BATIZ Immigrant-friendly states more likely to thrive
In 2012, the number of states addressing or passing any sort of immigration legislation fell, according to National Conference of State Legislatures. timesleader.com

Pa. pols must say thanks but no thanks to lobbyist gifts (editorial)
"Ten states have full bans on gifts for politicians, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. ydr.com

Dec. 27

At Capitol, the gifts that keep giving (Opinion)
According to the National Conference of state Legislatures, Pennsylvania is one of just 10 states that has no limits on gifts to state-level elected officials. Another 10 have full bans and 30 have low aggregate limits. The Times-Tribune

Seymour state Rep. prepares for ‘silver tsunami,’ will hold conversation on livable communities for all ages
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 41 million people are currently over 65 in the U.S. and that number is projected to increase to 72 million by 2030. New Haven Register

Tanning Salons Outnumber McDonald’s In Florida: ‘Sunshine State’ Opts For Indoor Tans Despite Known Health Risks
Florida is one of quite a few states — accompanied by Arizona, South Carolina, and Virginia — that does not place age restrictions on who can use tanning beds, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Medical Daily

Dec. 25 & 26

Marijuana Tops List Of New State Laws For 2014 ​ 
Those are among the nearly 40,000 bills and resolutions approved in U.S. states, commonwealths and territories in 2013, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), which tracks trends in state laws. Asked about trends in new laws from the past year, Jane Carroll Andrade, a spokeswoman for the NCSL, said taxes, education and healthcare are the perennial issues. Other subjects are just emerging, such as how technology relates to issues like privacy and voting procedures. "As technology emerges, state lawmakers find themselves having to balance - in the case of drones - people's privacy with the very useful services drones can perform," said Andrade. Reuters/Huffington Post

As City Cycling Grows, So Does Bike Tax Temptation
Two or three states consider legislation each year for some type of cycling registration and tax — complete with decals or mini-license plates, National Conference of State Legislatures policy specialist Douglas Shinkle said. This year, it was Georgia, Oregon, Washington and Vermont. The Oregon legislation, which failed, would even have applied to children. "I really think that legislators are just trying to be as creative as possible and as open to any sort of possibilities to fill in any funding gaps. Everything is on the table," he said. ABC News

Voting change proposed
Pennsylvania is one of only 14 states that provides a straight-party option, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. TribLive.com

Gifts arrive year-round for state's elected leaders
Ten states have full bans on gifts for politicians, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Another 31 states have monetary limits, ranging from $3 per day in Iowa to the Texas limit of $500 for gifts and another $500 for entertainment per year. PA Independent/altoonamirror.com

New NC law increases donation limits, curtails some disclosure in 2014
North Carolina joins at least eight others states pushing for increases in campaign contribution caps this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. newsobserver.com

Talk of taxing natural gas resurfaces in Pa.
West Virginia collects 5 percent of the gross value of gas produced, plus $0.047 per 1,000 cubic feet that goes to workman’s compensation debt, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Sharon Herald

Live Wire: 34 states now have voter identification laws
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 34 states, including North Carolina, have enacted voter identification laws, but not all are yet in effect, and not all of them require a photo ID. Fayetteville Observer

CU prof: Don’t buy the promise of nuclear energy
Kreith also spent 13 years as an American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) legislative fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. Boulder Weekly

Dec. 24

Report: State budgets recover modestly
U.S. state budgets appear to be stabilizing, budget gaps are rare and policymakers have more flexibility to deal with over-spending and unexpected one-off costs, the National Conference of State Legislatures said in a report distributed on Tuesday. inforum.com

US state budgets recover modestly, little room for big ideas: Report
US state budgets appear to be stabilizing, budget gaps are rare and policymakers have more flexibility to deal with over-spending and unexpected one-off costs, the National Conference of State Legislatures said in a report distributed on Tuesday. Reuters/The Economic Times

Legislative Report District 13: Federalism – the states and renewed interest in a limited federal government (Opinion)
The Council of State Governments (CSG), the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) all have current focuses on federalism. West Fargo Pioneer

NCSL: State Budgets Stable, But Recovery 'A Work in Progress'
State budgets seem to be "stabilizing and settling into a period of modest growth," but recovery from the Great Recession is still "a work in progress," a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures found. bondbuyer.com

Dems lose as N.C. electorate grows
Eleven states have closed congressional primaries and 11 have open ones, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Asheville Citizen-Times

Arizona Supreme Court green lights higher campaign contribution limits 
Before HB 2593, Arizona had some of the lowest candidate contribution levels in the country, according to a recent report from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Sonoran News

Dec. 23

South Dakota state senator eyes 2015 boost in road taxes
Staff from the National Conference of State Legislatures also could explain what other states are doing and Congress’ plans for federal funding for highways. AP/Rapid City Journal

The Top 10 Legislative Issues to Watch in 2014 
“No two Medicaid programs have ever been the same, and it would not surprise me if we saw innovation on that front, not just in expansion but whatever their needs may be,” says Melissa Hansen, a health policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures... “There’s definitely a shift in thinking in terms of whether merit aid is the best way to invest scarce state resources,” says the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Julie Bell. Governing

Cellphone law new challenge for drivers in 2014
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 12 states along with the District of Columbia prohibit using hand-held cellphones while driving. A total of 41 states and the District of Columbia ban text messaging. AP/Miami Herald

Pa. lawmaker renews push to arm teachers, school staff
After Newtown, lawmakers in 34 states introduced bills related to arming school staff, and six other states enacted laws, starting with South Dakota in March, the National Conference of State Legislatures reports. Ellwood City Ledger 

Relying on Untested Execution Drugs Raises Important Health, Safety and Human Rights Concerns 
And a 2013 briefing by the U.S. National Conference of State Legislatures echoed concerns about leaving compound pharmacy regulation to the states, citing the lack of uniform facility inspection standards, absence of universal enforcement protocols, unknown funding sources, and lack of transparency in maintaining and making available facility records. Huffington Post (The Blog)

In Washington and Concord, two different debates about minimum wage 
New Hampshire is one of six states with no minimum wage. Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee, South Carolina and Mississippi also have no minimum wage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Concord Monitor

On immigration, look to the states (Opinion)
Even before the cautionary tale of Alabama played itself out, anti-immigrant fever appeared to have been breaking. In 2012, the number of states addressing or passing any sort of immigration legislation fell, according to National Conference of State Legislatures. This year, it rose again, but this time many states were passing bills and resolutions that were pro, not anti, immigrant. The Grand Island Independent

Reducing the size of its legislature is an idea Ohio should borrow from Pennsylvania: Thomas Suddes (Opinion)
Pennsylvania’s General Assembly (253 members: 50 senators, 203 representatives) is well paid. Base pay is $83,301, the National Conference of State Legislatures reports, and all those Pennsylvania legislators are entitled to lavish per-diem allowances, plus other sweet perquisites. cleveland.com

BBB: Fast cash for the holidays may end up costing consumers
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures; in Texas, payday lenders are required to disclose certain information before initiating a loan. That information includes the cost, the interest rate to be paid and the specific fees that will be paid. Odessa American

Guest column: Make immigration reform welcoming, productive
In 2012, the number of states addressing or passing any sort of immigration legislation fell, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Spokesman-Review

Dec. 20

NH House considers raising juvenile delinquent age
In the past decade, the national trend has been to increase the age and send 17-year-olds through the juvenile system, according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures titled ‘‘Trends in Juvenile Justice State Legislation 2001-2011.’’ AP/boston.com

New Hampshire’s state legislature is nine times larger than Nebraska’s
In reporting that piece, we reached out to the folks at the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, and they graciously provided us with state-by-state data on the sizes of legislative bodies in each state. The Washington Post/GovBeat

Christie Reaches Deal on Tuition for Undocumented Immigrants
At least 16 U.S. states allow the tuition policy, according to a July study by the National Conference of State Legislatures, a lobbying and research group in Denver. Bloomberg Businessweek

Report: Maine political giving tied to tax break program 
Many states offer a variety of tax credits to provide incentives for businesses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Credits for machinery and equipment are among the most common incentives, although at least 30 states tax such purchases. Portland Press Herald

Another attempt to trim size of the Pa. Legislature (Opinion)
Pennsylvania has one of the largest and most expensive state legislatures in the country. Its 253 members — 203 in the house and 50 in the senate — employ 2,918 permanent staff members, the most in the country according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Mercury

N.J. Governor Agrees to In-State Tuition for Immigrant Students
Sixteen other states have provisions allowing in-state tuition for immigrant students, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Chronicle of Higher Education

Local state rep. travels to D.C. to talk health plan 
Local state Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez recently traveled to Washington D.C. to speak during the National Conference of State Legislatures about Massachusetts healthcare program in light of the ongoing implementation of the Affordable Healthcare Act. Jamaica Plain Gazette

Editorial: Online sales tax needed for everyone
ncreasingly states are getting bold in looking for ways to force online retailers to collect the sales tax. It’s easy to see why when confronted with this one number: $23 billion. That’s the amount that states lost last year when they could not collect sales tax on most online, phone or catalog purchases, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. greenvilleonline.com

Five Employment-Related Privacy Issues We Are Tracking in 2014 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, ten states passed social media-related privacy legislation in 2013, including New Jersey’s law, which went into effect this month. National Law Review

REPORT FROM CAPITOL HILL | Lessons From Gettysburg 
In this workshop, co-hosted by the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Kettering Foundation, of Dayton, Ohio, we discussed how to utilize our time most effectively and to create more meaningful discussions and interactions with our constituents. The Watch

Dec. 19

State Sen. Kathy Campbell vows to introduce Medicaid expansion bill in 2014
Nebraska is among 25 states that did not adopt the expansion this year, said Joy Wilson, health and human services policy director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Omaha World Herald

Efforts launched to restrict campaign contributions
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports Missouri is one of four states with no limits on contributions. El Dorado Springs Sun

Call Kurtis: What Hospitals Don’t Have To Tell You About Your Bill
Only two states require hospitals to itemize their costs on bills — Florida and Texas, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California does not. CBS Sacramento

House Republicans say the bill would provide tax relief for landowners and small producers
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, West Virginia taxes the gross values of natural gas and oil at 5 percent, and 10 percent of the tax revenue is distributed to local governments. vindy.com

Dec. 18

Tax Cuts, Tax Reform to Resurface in 2014 Statehouses
Alaska, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia were among the states enacting major tax changes in 2013, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and several others approved smaller reforms to one tax or another.  Stateline

Pennsylvania’s House votes to shrink the Pennsylvania House
Just five states — Idaho, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Wyoming — have changed their legislative size since 1990, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. And only one of those was a meaningful shift, the organization’s Morgan Cullen and Karl Kurtz wrote in a 2011 blog post. “Since the early 1980s, the only state that made a significant change in the size of their house chambers is Rhode Island. The Ocean State reduced its membership from 100 to 75 in 2004,” they wrote. The Washington Post/GovBeat

Unterman leads hunger project
A Gwinnett legislator lead the state to win a 5K grant challenge from the National Conference of State Legislatures sponsored by Yum! Brands Foundation. “This generous grant will assist with hunger relief in metro Atlanta and allow us to continue in our efforts to raise awareness of programs that fight hunger nationwide,” Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford said of the prize won in the NCSL Backpack Buddy Challenge. Unterman is the co-chair of the NCSL Hunger Partnership, which challenged all 50 states to pack 1,000 backpacks of food for hungry children. Georgia, the host state, stuffed the most backpacks and won the $5,000 grand prize. Gwinnett Daily Post

Medicaid expansion hearing in Lincoln
The hearing was held by the Department of Health and Human Services and was highlighted by a speech from Joy Johnson of the National Conference of State Legislatures. khastv.com

Dec. 17

Energy production will be ‘next big issue’ (By State Senator Cam Ward)
I have the pleasure of serving as vice chairman of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The Clanton Advertiser

PA lawmakers consider cutting massive Legislature
As of 2009, the state Legislature’s 2,918 permanent staff members were the most in the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. watchdog.org

Pathways to Nowhere for Georgia's Undocumented
Sixteen states currently allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. National Journal

Rep. Serpa Attends Seminar Exploring Science Behind Addiction, Treatment, Prevention
Representative Patricia A. Serpa (D-Dist. 27, Coventry, Warwick, West Warwick) recently attended a three-day bipartisan workshop, titled: “The Science that Underlies Drug Abuse, Addiction, Treatment and Prevention” as part of a The National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) Addiction Studies Program for the States 2013 seminar. patch.com

Mississippi governor's top aide top aide will run Sen. Cochran's campaign
Last week, Bryant's main spokesman, Mick Bullock, announced he was leaving to take a job in Washington, D.C., as communications director of the National Conference of State Legislatures. sunherald.com

16% Raise Recommended for Md. Legislators Who Would Make $50,000 in 2018
About one of out of five Maryland legislators (42 members or 21%) have no other employment, according to a membership profile done by the Department of Legislative Services. (That is a higher number than reported to the commission in an extensive briefing paper from staff, based on comparative data from National Conference of State Legislatures.) SouthernMaryland.com

Dec.  16

DiGirolamo wants to slap ‘fracking’ industry with severance tax
Of 32 states that produce natural gas, Pennsylvania, New York and Maryland are the only three that have not imposed a severance tax, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported in June. Bucks County Courier Times

Supporters of Stricter Gun Laws Look Back on 2013 in Despair
About two-thirds of new state gun laws end up relaxing restrictions, according to a New York Times analysis of data from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the National Conference of State Legislatures. National Journal

Congress targets fed workers' pensions for savings
Such plans remain common for many state and local workers, and 30 states imposed higher pension costs on their employees between 2009 and 2012, according to a survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Moulton Advertiser

Schwartz works on state-by-state energy plan

[State Senator Gail] Schwartz, who at one time represented the entire Roaring Fork Valley including Glenwood Springs, told the Post Independent on Thursday that she has been working for about two years on the energy plan as part of the Task Force On Energy Supply, a committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Bryant spokesman gets send-off
His next job is at the National Conference of State Legislatures — a bipartisan organization. Jackson Clarion-Ledger

Pa. lawmakers looking to crack down on revenge porn
Similar measures have been introduced in five other states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. lancasteronline.com

StateWatch: Outlaws, ObamaCare and Medicaid
For Medicaid, waste and fraud lurk in ambush... “The sheer size and complexity” of Medicaid make it an attractive target, says a National Conference of State Legislatures report. The Trentonian

Inside a School Where Teachers Pack Heat
Lawmakers sponsored bills on school safety in every state, introducing more than 500 this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Dozens became law. Mother Jones

What Does 2014 Hold for Lawmakers?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 13 states (not including Connecticut) have enacted laws on drones, and 10 have adopted resolutions on their use. ctnewsjunkie.com

Efforts launched to restrict campaign contributions
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports Missouri is one of four states with no limits on contributions. southcountymail.com

Search process starts for legislative director
More about National Conference Of State Legislatures: ARTICLE: Review: Legislature needs to improve staff processes; ARTICLE: State legislators not asking for ALEC membership reimbursement; ARTICLE: Attacks on lawmaker participation in educational group shows closed-mindedness; ARTICLE: Lawmakers should not ask state to pay for their memberships in conservative group. Capital Journal

States need to require safe sex education (Opinion)
Currently, 22 states require sex education and 33 states require HIV/AIDS instruction, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Daily Titan

Dec. 13

Colorado High School is Site of Shooting on Eve of Newtown Anniversary
"An Education Week analysis of measures tracked by the National Conference of State Legislatures found that state lawmakers proposed 442 bills and resolutions related to school safety and guns in schools since the Sandy Hook shooting..." Education Week

More than 40,000 Ohio third-graders lag behind reading standards
Ohio was among 10 states to enact education law revisions last year to look at early literacy development and early reading success as benchmarks to judge long-term state educational achievement, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. The Chronicle-Telegram

Sánchez travels to D.C. to talk health care
State Rep. Jeffrey ... Sánchez spoke two weeks ago before the National Conference of State Legislatures about the Massachusetts health care program in light of the ongoing implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act. Mission Hill Gazette

Dec. 12

Kentucky Lawmakers Select National Conference of State Legislatures to Conduct Audit
A panel of Kentucky lawmakers voted 9-5 to hire the National Conference of State Legislatures to conduct an audit of the Legislative Research Commission, an agency that provides research and support staff to the General Assembly. Brian Weberg, director of the NCSL's legislative management program, says his organization has conducted similar audits of agencies equivalent to the LRC across 19 states, and has personally overseen 15 of them. WFPL News

State's top ALEC officials say group is becoming more transparent
Vukmir said what happens at ALEC isn’t that different from the bill-creation process in Wisconsin, where drafts are not public records until the bill is introduced, or from what happens at the National Conference of State Legislatures. NCSL spokeswoman Jane Andrade responded that every state legislator and legislative staffer in the country belongs to the bipartisan organization, which very rarely writes model legislation and is mostly focused on providing legislators with data and research. It has a separate foundation that receives corporate funding, but the foundation has no control over NCSL policies. Wisconsin State Journal

Wisconsin Republicans say conservative group ALEC aiming to be more transparent
Vukmir said what happens at ALEC isn't that different from the bill-creation process in Wisconsin, where drafts aren't public records until a bill is introduced, or from what happens at the National Conference of State Legislatures. NCSL spokeswoman Jane Andrade disputed Vukmir's claim, pointing out that every state legislator and legislative staffer in the country belongs to the bipartisan NCSL, which very rarely writes model legislation and is mostly focused on providing legislators with data and research. AP/Minneapolis Star Tribune

Dec. 11

State Gun Laws Enacted in the Year Since Newtown
Source: The analysis includes laws based on lists from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the National Conference of State Legislatures, as well as data from Open States and the National Rifle Association. The New York Times

Oregon To Test Taxing Drivers By The Mile, Not Gallon
It's an idea that "a lot of people think is the wave of the future," said Jim Reed of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Investors' Business Daily

Revisiting the Clackamas Town Center Shooting One Year Later 
NCSL's Jonathan Griffin gives overview of gun laws passed in 2013. Oregon Public Broadcasting

NC teachers group sues over private school grants
Thirteen states had tuition tax credit programs as of this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. WNCN

Gov. Bryant's spokesman to step down from position
Mick Bullock, Bryant’s current director of communications, said he is leaving his position to take a job with the National Conference of State Legislatures which begins on Jan. 6. The Clarion-Ledger

A Year Later, Newtown Tragedy Yields Little Policy Change
An Education Week analysis of measures tracked by the National Conference of State Legislatures found that state lawmakers proposed 442 bills and resolutions related to school safety and guns in schools since the Sandy Hook shooting. Education Week

BBB warning: fast cash for the holidays may end up costing consumers
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures; in Texas, payday lenders are required to disclose certain information before initiating a loan. ktsm.com

A good deal, all around (Opinion)
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the average cost to the government for an online registration is 3 cents compared with 83 cents for a paper registration, because it saves staff time, materials and the costs of correcting mistakes. thedailyreview.com

Hearing today for marijuana bill
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson signed Senate Bill 523, "Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act," into law on April 2, 2007. Pacific Daily News

Two Texas And Connecticut School Districts Had Totally Different Responses To Newtown
Lawmakers sponsored bills on school safety in every state, introducing more than 500 this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Business Insider

Dec. 10

Brian Dickerson: Relax Michigan's ban? What are you smoking!? (Column)
By February of this year, when the National Conference of State Legislatures last surveyed the state of smoke-free America, just 15 states (concentrated overwhelmingly in the Deep South) were still permitting patrons to light up in restaurants and bars. The Detroit Free Press

William L. Mallory Sr., patriarch of Mallory family, dies at 82
Mallory awards: City Manager’s Award for contributions to the City of Cincinnati; National Conference of State Legislatures Award for Leadership; Martin Luther King Dream Keeper award; called one of the 50 most influential African Americans in the last 50 years in a WCIN survey; Great Living Cincinnatian by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of of Commerce, and Triumph Award from the Emanuel Community Center. The Cincinnati Enquirer

Michigan campaign finance: 12 things to know about controversial bill to double donation limits
Nationally, the average limit on contributions to gubernatorial candidates is $8,579, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. MLive.com

Maine governor opposes bank break-up effort
Maine Republican Governor Paul LePage is apparently not a fan of a resolution proposed for the National Conference of State Legislatures meeting this fall that would support re-imposing Glass-Steagall. Politico

Why is AEP still linked to ALEC? (Opinion)

“AEP is a member of ALEC and has been for decades,” McHenry wrote. “We openly disclose our membership in ALEC and a variety of other bipartisan organizations focused on state government including the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the Council of State Governments. Fort Wayne Jounal Gazette

After Newtown, School Districts Across Nation Ask What it Takes to Make Kids Safe
Lawmakers sponsored bills on school safety in every state, introducing more than 500 this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

Dec. 9

Was Mitt Romney right about US health overhaul?
These are the sorts of assessments that were thrust to the forefront this week at an annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures in Washington, where the organization’s health reform task force examined how states are responding to the mass public confusion caused by the law’s botched rollout. The Boston Globe

States looking to tighten rules on home care aides
In April, Republican Gov. Terry Branstad signed a bill that includes a mandatory study of background checks for home health workers, says Joshua Ewing, a policy specialist for the Health Program at the National Conference of State Legislatures. USA Today

Iowa traffic fatalities continue show decline

That would put Iowa on a similar footing as other states in regard to new traffic safety efforts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures' February 2013 “Traffic Safety Trends” report. Sioux City Journal

SC Senator receives Arts Award
Senator Robert W. Hayes Jr. — a Rock Hill Republican who chairs the Banking and Insurance Committee — recently received the 2013 Public Leadership in the Arts Award in State Arts Leadership from Americans for the Arts and the National Conference of State Legislatures. free-times.com

Pass Fairness Act on sales taxes (Opinion)
Nationwide, the National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that the lost tax revenue was about $23.3 billion in 2012. Congress needs to create a level playing field. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Mom Danielle Gendron Outraged After Being Kicked Out Of Courtroom For Breastfeeding 
Connecticut is one of 45 states and the District of Columbia that have passed statutes allowing women to breastfeed in any public or private location, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Huffington Post

Bill Would Create Term Limits for State Lawmakers
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 15 states have term limits. Your4State.com

Guernsey Energy Coalition meeting hears from state officials about gas and oil rewards
Also offering his expertise in legislative affairs was State Sen. Troy Balderson, who was appointed to serve as a member of the National Conference of State Legislatures Task Force on Energy Supply. The Daily & Sunday Jeffersonian

US waiting to see if online bet is a winner 
Beyond New Jersey, research from the National Conference of State Legislatures, a non-governmental organisation that tracks policy across the US, shows eight states – California, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Texas – are hoping to jump on the bandwagon. The Independent

Dec. 6

Don’t Dismiss Performance Based Funding Research
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures and work by Janice Friedel and others, 22 states have PBF in place, seven more are transitioning to PBF, and ten more have discussed a switch. Washington Monthly

Unions flex muscle — Budget talks continue — ALEC pushes data privacy — ESRA talks falls apart in House
Meanwhile at the National Conference of State Legislatures gathering in D.C. on Thursday, Education Sector VP Kris Amundson urged members “to be out in front of that [data privacy] issue before it comes back to bite you,” adding that restricting the collection of accountability data is “a proxy to defeat higher standards and better testing” and “could really have legs.” Politico

The Most Crucial Moments in a Child's Educational Life
Remedial courses, which offer no credit toward a degree, must be taken by 28 to 40 percent of all students who enroll in college and often by 50 percent of those attending community colleges, the National Conference of State Legislatures has found. The Atlantic

Proposed tax hike on oil and gas drilling would provide industry stability but leaves critics wanting more
Of the 35 states that impose taxes or fees on oil and gas production, at least 20 charge higher rates than what is proposed in HB 375, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. cleveland.com

Dec. 5

State Lawmakers Urge Washington to Reach Budget Deal 
"We believe everything should be on the table, but there should not be a disproportionate impact on states," says Sheri Steisel, federal affairs counsel for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Governing

Map: The 130 cities where fast-food workers are striking Thursday
Lawmakers in four more — California, Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island — have passed bills that will raise the minimum wage in 2014, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. And voters in New Jersey voted to do the same in November. The Washington Post

Supreme Court takes up medical marijuana case
Twenty states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized medical marijuana under state law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Tampa Bay Tribune

Republican state senator proposes linking N.H. gas tax hikes to inflation
Three states – Florida, Massachusetts and Maryland – have laws linking their gas tax rates to inflation, and a dozen other states have variable-rate taxes based on other measures such as the price of fuel, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Concord Monitor

Making voting easier is the gift that keeps on giving (Opinion)
Virginia remains an outlier: It's one of 15 states that don't allow early voting and/or no-excuse absentee voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Virginian-Pilot

College, other ads pop up on school buses
A handful of states permit school bus ads for the interior, exterior or both. They are, according to the July 2012 National Conference of State Legislatures Transportation Review: Exterior ads: Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, Texas, Utah; Interior ads: Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin; Exterior and interior ads: Massachusetts, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Tennessee. examiner.com

Dec. 4

Group plans voting rights push
States have been active on voting laws, including voter ID, in recent years, with 30 states proposing laws on voter ID in 2013, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Politico

The downside of clear election laws
“Put clarity at the top of the list of things to achieve, maybe before fairness or integrity or access or whatever, because litigators can’t fight over things that are clear,” he said, speaking on an election law panel during a multi-day conference hosted by the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures in Washington, D.C. “It’s amazing how much ambiguity kind of seeps into laws that is unintended.” The Washington Post

Public workers outside Detroit face pension cuts
Kreisberg cited data from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), which shows a multi-year wave in changes to pension obligations across the country. Between just 2010 and 2011, a total of 41 states “enacted significant revisions to at least one state retirement plan,” according to a 2012 NCSL report. MSNBC

Dec. 3

Supreme Court won't rule on state Internet sales taxes
States stood to lose about $23 billion last year because they could not collect sales taxes from most online, phone and catalog purchases, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. "At some point, this will be solved by either Congress or court action," says Max Behlke, manager of state-federal relations for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "Sales tax revenue is so vital to states." USA Today

California Awards Lawmakers a Raise
Karl Kurtz, a political scientist with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said the pay rise was in line with inflation, and that the California legislature was among the busiest in the nation. California Senate districts represent about 900,000 people each—larger than typical congressional districts. "You just have enormous constituent demands when you have districts that size, and providing constituent services is part of the job," said Mr. Kurtz, whose bipartisan organization provides ideas and support for state governments. The Wall Street Journal

Supreme Court refuses challenge by online retailers to N.Y. tax law
The National Conference of State Legislatures said it would send about 200 legislators, in town for an annual forum, to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to lobby for legislation. The Los Angeles Times

Supreme Court won't stop NY's Internet taxation
The National Council of State Legislatures estimates that states lost an estimated $23.3 billion in 2012 as a result of being unable to collect sales tax on online and catalog purchases. The court's refusal "allows states that have passed laws like New New York's to continue doing what they've been doing," said Neal Osten, director of the Council's Washington office. AP/The Denver Post

Utah’s national clout 
Sen. Curt Bramble will be president of the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Salt Lake Tribune

Supreme Court declines case on making online retailers collect sales taxes

The National Conference of State Legislatures estimated in 2012 that states lost $23 billion in uncollected taxes of all types and that about half were from online sales. The Washington Post

U.S. Supreme Court rejects Amazon on NY sales tax
The rise of the Internet has increased the stakes since then, putting tens of billions of dollars at issue. New York alone lost $1.8 billion in 2012 on Internet and catalog sales, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg/Crain's New York

Delivery by Drone Must Clear State Hurdles
A model drone policy from the Aerospace States Association, the Council of State Governments and the National Conference of State Legislatures urges states to require a warrant for drone surveillance of an individual; prohibit the re-use of video or photos collected by a drone for other investigations; and ban weapons from domestic drones. Stateline/Government Technology

How D.C.’s proposed $11.50 minimum wage would stack up
Lawmakers in four states — California, Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island — have passed bills that will raise the minimum wage in 2014, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. The Washington Post

Undocumented immigrants start testing for Illinois driver's licenses
Ten states in 2013 including Illinois enacted laws allowing unauthorized immigrants to receive driver's licenses or permits, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters/The Virginia Gazette

Controversial Michigan campaign finance bill would double special interest group donation limits
Michigan's individual contribution limits currently trail the national average, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the proposed increases would align Michigan more closely with other states. mlive.com

Vets groups launch in-state tuition map
Clicking on a state calls up information about approved or pending legislation, school policies and details about who is covered by the rules. The information is verified by data from the National Conference of State Legislatures, as well as news reports and lawmakers, according to SVA. Marine Corps Times

Hough wants term limits for state lawmakers
Currently, 15 states limit the length of time a legislator can serve, with term caps ranging between six and 12 years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Frederick News-Post

An unCOLA plan: There are better ways to determine if state lawmakers merit raises
As the National Conference of State Legislatures puts it, "Salaries should be enough to attract highly qualified candidates with a variety of diverse backgrounds and experiences, while also ensuring that everyone — rich or poor — can afford to serve." lancasteronline.com

Social media may affect admission
Rhode Island’s House Judiciary Committee recommended the state establish a social media policy to protect students and employees in May, but no legislation has been passed, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures website. Brown Daily Herald

Guest column: ‘Stand your ground’ is here to stay
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bill in North Carolina that would have amended aspects of the law regarding use of force against an intruder never made it out of committee. There were about a dozen bills before state legislatures in 2012, several of which would have amended circumstances allowing for use of force by citizens. None of those proposals advanced. LakeNewsOnline.com

NJ Education Official Discusses Upcoming Changes in Student Testing
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the need for remediation, non-credit classes, is widespread. patch.com

Ruling on Internet sales tax could boost Florida efforts to collect
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimated the sales tax loss on Internet and catalogue sales for all states at $23 billion a year in 2012, with Florida losing just under $1.5 billion. Herald-Tribune

Dec. 2

Expanding high-tech voting for '14
Wendy Underhill, program manager for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said she expects that by 2020 all states will allow online voter registration. Politico

Bill to Require Annual Pension Reports Gaining Traction in Congress
"People should take this seriously," says Jeff Hurley , a policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "The federal government is looking at the unfunded liability of state and local [governments] and connecting that to [how] those governments serve the common needs of constituents by way of infrastructure. It is very scary." Governing/hispanicbusiness.com

AP top news in Iowa at 3:58 p.m. CST
Iowa is one of those states in which you see activity from time to time, but it doesn't have any motion. You'll see that in the South and the plains/Midwestern states," said Karmen Hanson, a policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, who tracks this issue. "You don't see a lot of action on these bills in those areas." AP/wsbtv.com

Christie: I didn’t flip-flop on immigration
While 16 states provide in-state tuition for young illegal immigrants, only three go a step further and provide financial aid, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. New Jersey would be the fourth. The Washington Post

Staten Island lawmakers push for digital privacy laws for job-seekers
Meanwhile, in the last two years, 14 states have passed digital-privacy laws barring employers from demanding that prospective hires and current employees allow access to their non-public postings on social media sites, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. silive.com

Is Ohio following wrong path?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bill in North Carolina that would have amended aspects of the law regarding use of force against an intruder never made it out of committee. vindy.com