NCSL in the News | December 2019

12/1/2019

Dec. 19

New Jersey driver's license bill for illegal immigrants is 'reckless': CBP acting commissioner
Fox Business
Thirteen states, including Delaware, New York and the District of Columbia allow immigrants without legal status to get drivers’ licenses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

What's in Alabama's draft bill on medical marijuana?
al.com
Alabama would be the 34th state to allow marijuana to be used for medical purposes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Nancy Pelosi claims 200K “will be prohibited from voting” in Wisconsin. That's wrong.
Politifact
Wisconsin is one of 21 states that allows voters to register at their polling place the day of the election, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
How will the Idaho Legislature tackle hemp?
Idaho Press Tribune
In fact, growing and transporting hemp is legal in at least 47 out of the 50 United States, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Murphy Signs Bill to Restore Voting Rights to Some Convicts
NBC New York
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, New Jersey would join 16 other states and the District of Columbia that bar only those convicts who are incarcerated from voting.

Dec. 18

As 2020 election approaches, more states let teens preregister to vote at school
USA TODAY
As the 2020 presidential election approaches, who young Americans will vote for – and whether they will vote at all – will play a big role in the outcome. American teens who will be 18 by Election Day can preregister to vote, with 14 states, including Florida, and the District of Columbia specifically allowing teens to preregister once they turn 16, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Giant Eagle to end use of plastic grocery bags
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Eight states have banned single-use plastic bags: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon and Vermont, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
NJ Assembly Passes Bill to Bar Religious Exemption for Vaccines
NBC New York
Every state requires some vaccines for students, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but exemptions differ from state to state. Forty-five states and the District of Columbia allow for religious exemptions to immunizations, according to the conference.
 
HUD Spends Millions on Lead Abatement. Why Are Public Housing Authorities Still Struggling?
PEW Stateline
“Yes, HUD could always do better. There’s no doubt about it,” said Doug Farquhar, program director for environmental health for the National Conference of State Legislatures. “But now when you look at the amount of [lead abatement] funding going to HUD homes versus the rest of the housing, it’s astronomically different.”

Dec. 17

NJ lawmakers voting on barring religious exemption for shots
The Washington Post
Every state requires some vaccines for students, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but exemptions differ from state to state. Forty-five states and the District of Columbia allow for religious exemptions to immunizations, according to the conference.
 
Thousands of Ohio absentee applications denied
CBS News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, three states — Oregon, Washington and Colorado — conduct all-mail elections, eliminating the ballot application process by automatically mailing a ballot to every registered voter before Election Day. 
 
The Breakdown: Big money, no whammies
Arizona Capitol Times
The NCSL was here last week to discuss redistricting, which will be a hot button issue come next year.
 
Woman who drove 3 slain in Oklahoma home invasion speaks out
Stock Daily Dish
The homeowner‘s son could be cleared under the state‘s “Stand Your Ground” law, which allows citizens to shoot someone if they believe their safety is threatened. Oklahoma is among 24 states with such a provision, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

HUD Spends Millions on Lead Abatement. Why Are Public Housing Authorities Still Struggling?
Stateline
“Yes, HUD could always do better. There’s no doubt about it,” said Doug Farquhar, program director for environmental health for the National Conference of State Legislatures. “But now when you look at the amount of [lead abatement] funding going to HUD homes versus the rest of the housing, it’s astronomically different.”

Dec. 16

California man charged with murder after allegedly forcing girlfriend to induce miscarriage
Fox News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 38 states have instituted fetal homicide laws. At least 29 states have laws that apply to the earliest stages of pregnancy, the group says. 
 
Dems want tougher language on election security in defense bill
The Hill
According to the National Conference of State Legislators, 34 states and the District of Columbia already require post-election audits, while four states — Colorado, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Virginia — have statutory requirements to conduct the most intensive risk-limiting audits. 
 
Democrats plan ‘unprecedented’ effort to flip state legislative chambers in 2020 state races
The Washington Post
Democrats also picked up nine governorships. But Republicans still have majority control in 29 state legislatures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
AP Exclusive: Thousands of Ohio absentee applications denied
Washington Post
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, three states — Oregon, Washington and Colorado — conduct all-mail elections, eliminating the ballot application process by automatically mailing a ballot to every registered voter before Election Day.

At summit, Va. lawmakers, attorney general weigh marijuana decriminalization
The Washington Post
In all, nearly 30 states have passed decriminalization laws, while 11 now consider marijuana a legal drug, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear Restores Voting Rights to 140,000 Former Felons
U.S. News & World Report
But former Gov. Matt Bevin, who was defeated by Beshear in the November elections, reversed the executive order soon after taking office, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
War on plastics: Denver’s proposed bag fee just the beginning
Denver Post
San Francisco became the first American city to ban plastic bags in grocery stores, in 2007, and other major cities followed suit. Now, eight states have enacted some type of ban, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Advocates want to recycle CT's wasted prescription drugs. The state says it's already doing that.
The CT Mirror
A report by the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracked drug recycling efforts in all 50 states, notes that Connecticut passed laws on the issue but listed its program as defunct.

Dec. 5

Federal, State Focus On Elder Financial Abuse Seen As Potential Reason For Tripling Of Reports In Six Years
Forbes
In the same vein, 36 states along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico addressed elder financial exploitation in their legislative sessions last year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the study pointed out.
 
Just How Regulated Are Our Nation’s Elections?
Fortune
According to a 2018 analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures, only 12 states currently require the use of machines and systems that are fully federally certified: Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming. 
 
Are we safe from cyberattacks?; Comparing leadership salaries; Two whistleblowers
Omaha Press Herald
The National Conference of State Legislatures lists Nebraska as one of the states lacking in any ransomware legislation.

Dec. 4

State of Wayfair: Payment Processors May Avoid Sales Tax Duties
Bloomberg
The executive committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures will take up a draft model law in January that favors a narrow definition for online marketplaces that should be required to collect sales tax from remote sellers.       

Banks No Longer Required to Report Hemp Growers as Suspicious, Regulators Say
Wall Street Journal
But a federal ban remains in effect on marijuana, a cannabis product that contains increased levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or TCH, which can produce a high. Meanwhile, at least 11 states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana for adults and 22 more allow it to treat certain medical conditions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Failed candidates contribute by advocating for voters
Santa Fe New Mexican
Look at what happened in the Obama era. In 2009, the Democrats controlled both chambers of 27 state legislatures; that had dwindled to chambers in 13 states in eight years. Over Obama’s time as president, the Democratic Party lost a net total of 13 governorships and 816 state legislative seats, according to a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

It's Way Past Time For Independent Analysis Of The Cost Of Legislation
Honolulu Civil Beat
“Legislators need fiscal notes to decide on a bill’s merits, to assess its affordability, and to plan for the future,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. “Fiscal notes also enable other interested parties to weigh in, in a more informed manner, on the legislative process. And they allow the media to understand and report accurately on pending legislation’s importance.”

Licensing changes could do away with 'moral turpitude'
Idaho Press-Tribune
The number of U.S. occupations that require a license has ballooned from about one in 20 half a century ago to about one in four today, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At the same time, roughly one in three adults in the U.S. has some sort of criminal record.

Exemption, standards bills stir debate over vaccinations
SouthCoastToday.com
Maine, New York, California, West Virginia and Mississippi do not allow students to be exempted from vaccines for non-medical reasons, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Forty-five states, including Massachusetts, allow religious exemptions, and 15 allow philosophical exemptions for personal or moral beliefs.

Dec. 3

This California warning might cause alarm – or apathy
Sacramento Bee
No other states have laws that match the sweep of Proposition 65, especially relating to carcinogens, said Doug Farquhar, a spokesman for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Financial Cos. Face A New Normal Under State Privacy Laws/
Law 360
NCSL Information Cited

Wisconsin hybrid owners are noticing a new state fee. Will they pay more overall than gas-only vehicle owners? It depends.
Green Bay Press Gazette
Wisconsin is one of only eight states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, to require fees for conventional hybrids. Only Mississippi ($75) and West Virginia ($100) charge as much.

Fraud in higher education
WV News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “when considering all first-time undergraduates, studies have found anywhere from 28 percent to 40 percent of students enroll in at least one remedial course. When looking at only community college students, several studies have found remediation rates surpassing 50 percent.”

Dec. 2

Maryland police drones aid in searches, crash investigations, but raise privacy concerns
Washington Post
At least 18 states have passed laws to require police to obtain a warrant before using a drone for surveillance or searches, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Integrated communities offer hope to adults with autism
The Hill
Adults with autism tend to fall through the cracks, according to the Autism Housing Network. Less than 3 percent of autism research funding is for adult issues — even though autistic children grow up to be autistic adults. More than 75 percent of autistic adults report their top concern in securing housing is not being able to afford it. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, unemployment rates for people with disabilities are higher across all education levels compared to those without a disability.  

Election Nights Becoming Election Weeks? It's The New Normal In Colorado
Colorado Public Radio
“It’s been a slow growth of states that are offering pre-election day voting and it continues to grow,” said Wendy Underhill, the director of elections and redistricting at NCSL. She doesn't “imagine that we'll necessarily get to 50 states” as some legislators around the country aren’t enthusiastic about increasing absentee or mail ballot voting.

Why Marital Identity Theft Is So Hard To Fight
Law360
Up until this year, New York was the only state in the country that explicitly includes identity theft in its definition of domestic violence and abuse, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

2020 census: Grant awards to reach hard-to-count Colorado populations criticized
Colorado Gazette
About half the nation’s states have appropriated funding for 2020 census outreach efforts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Just five states — Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, South Dakota and Texas — have taken no action to establish a complete count committee, whether through legislation or executive orders.
 
Iowa marks the first year of medical marijuana sales with looming questions about its future
Des Moines Register
In 33 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, lawmakers have approved "comprehensive, publicly available medical marijuana/cannabis programs," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Iowa is not among those states. 
 
Pa. lawmakers pitch bill to criminalize school bullying
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Among the exceptions are Louisiana and New Mexico, each of which criminalized cyber-bullying, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Why Marital Identity Theft Is So Hard To Fight
Law 360
Up until this year, New York was the only state in the country that explicitly includes identity theft in its definition of domestic violence and abuse, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.