NCSL in the News | July 2020

7/15/2020

July 31

If state and local governments continue to struggle, so will America
CNN
Opinion by Bill McBride, Matthew Chase, Clarence Anthony, Marc A. Ott, Tim Storey, David Adkins and Tom Cochran
While much of the media and the public remain fixated on the partisan drama unfolding in Washington, DC, over the next coronavirus stimulus package, state and local governments are quietly doing what they do best: working to keep Americans safe, healthy, educated and gainfully employed as much as possible.
 
Election Day won’t be in November
Politico
California and Vermont joined Hawaii, Utah, Washington, Oregon and Colorado in sending a mail ballot to all registered voters, eliminating the need to ask for one, according to Wendy Underhill, director of the elections and redistricting program at the National Conference of State Legislatures. And nine of the 11 states that do require an excuse to vote by mail now allow a Covid diagnosis as a reason to receive a mail ballot in their state primaries or will do so in their general election. “It’s a great big change,” said Underhill. “Ordinarily you might take two or three years to make these changes. People are doing it at warp speed to the best of their ability.”
 
Perlmutter and Kulmann: Colorado needs robust federal coronavirus help that the U.S. Senate is refusing
The Denver Post
Earlier in July, we saw the National Governors Association, Council of State Governments, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, U.S. Conference of Mayors, the International City/County Management Association, and 170 local municipal associations, trade associations, major corporations, labor unions and others join together to implore Congress to provide “robust and direct stimulus” for state and local governments to maintain essential services and rebuild local economies. This also comes as new data shows an overwhelming majority of Americans support at least $1 trillion for state and local governments in the next COVID-19 relief package.
 
Maine's US senators reject Trump's suggestion to delay November election
Bangor Daily News
Five states — Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Utah — conduct elections fully by mail, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Maine is among another tier of 29 states that allow voters to request an absentee ballot without citing a reason.
 
The Pandemic Is Damaging the GOP Brand Everywhere
The Atlantic
Democrats still face significant obstacles in erasing the Republican lead in state legislatures. The GOP has a big cushion: It now controls 59 state legislative chambers, compared with just 39 for Democrats, according to figures from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Donald Trump doubles down on threat to delay the election saying it will be 'CROOKED' if it happens on November 3 - as top conservative calls him 'fascisitic' and demands immediate impeachment and removal
Daily Mail
In two-thirds of the states, any qualified voter may vote absentee without offering an excuse, and in one-third of the states, an excuse is required, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But many states - including West Virginia and Virginia - are adding fear of the coronavirus as a valid excuse to request an absentee ballot.
 
Trump Draws False Contrast Between Absentee, Mail-In Voting, Election Experts Say
Capital Public Radio News
There are 34 states plus Washington, D.C. that offer what’s called “no excuse” absentee voting, also simply called mail-in voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Under that system, voters do not need to attest that they will be out of the voting jurisdiction on election day, or that they cannot get to the polls because of an illness or disability.
 

July 30

States, seeking more coronavirus relief funds, have hardly spent the $139 billion approved in March: report
Fox News
The National Conference of State Legislatures Wednesday called on Congress and the Trump Administration to pass a stimulus bill with flexible funding so states could weather the economic recession. "The economic impact of the coronavirus recession varies by state," the organization said. "However, every state is coping with revenue shortfalls and more than half the states, from all parts of the nation, are looking at severe budget problems that will certainly lead to dramatic cuts in critical services."
 
Perlmutter and Kulmann: Colorado needs robust federal coronavirus help that the U.S. Senate is refusing
Denver Post
Earlier in July, we saw the National Governors Association, Council of State Governments, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, U.S. Conference of Mayors, the International City/County Management Association, and 170 local municipal associations, trade associations, major corporations, labor unions and others join together to implore Congress to provide “robust and direct stimulus” for state and local governments to maintain essential services and rebuild local economies.
 
House drops major climate bill into busy week
Worcester Telegram
That course would give Massachusetts a more aggressive timeline for emissions reductions than larger states like California and New York, both of which require emissions to be at least 40% lower than 1990 levels by 2030, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
How Early Should You Send In Your Mail-in Ballot To Make Sure It Gets Counted? The Answer Varies By State.
Capitol Public Radio
“The most common state deadline for election officials to receive absentee or mail ballots is on Election Day when the polls close,” the National Conference of State Legislatures says on its website. “Some states, however, accept and count a mailed ballot if it is received after Election Day but postmarked prior to the election.”
 

July 29

Governors and Mayors Warn of Drastic Spending Cuts Without New Aid
AP
Most states have already allocated the bulk of funding they received from the Cares Act, limiting the impact of a GOP plan allowing that money to be used to fill budget gaps -- instead of just covering virus-related costs, the National Conference of State Legislatures said in a statement on Tuesday. “For many states it will take years to recover from the abrupt drop-off in revenue caused by this pandemic,” the group said.
 
How Early Should You Send In Your Mail-in Ballot To Make Sure It Gets Counted? It Varies By State
PolitiFact
"The most common state deadline for election officials to receive absentee or mail ballots is on Election Day when the polls close," the National Conference of State Legislatures says on its website. "Some states, however, accept and count a mailed ballot if it is received after Election Day but postmarked prior to the election."
 
My father worked in a hospital and died from COVID-19. We can’t afford his burial or funeral expenses — what can we do?
Market Watch
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “14 states have taken action to extend workers’ compensation coverage to include COVID-19 as a work-related illness. Six states have enacted legislation creating a presumption of coverage for various types of workers. Alaska, Minnesota, Utah and Wisconsin limit the coverage to first responders and health-care workers.”
 
How Early Should You Send In Your Mail-in Ballot To Make Sure It Gets Counted? It Varies By State
PolitiFact
"The most common state deadline for election officials to receive absentee or mail ballots is on Election Day when the polls close," the National Conference of State Legislatures says on its website. "Some states, however, accept and count a mailed ballot if it is received after Election Day but postmarked prior to the election."
 
States Eye Anti-Poverty Tax Credit to Ease Covid Impact
Bloomberg Tax
Iowa, New Jersey and Virginia also modified their credit programs this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. All three states appropriated funds to boost EITC participation through outreach, education, and tax preparation assistance. New York passed a budget provision allowing eligible taxpayers to receive the credit even if they haven’t applied. EITC measures could be seen in a handful of additional states including Massachusetts, Missouri, and New Jersey.
 
Idaho has nothing to fear from voting by mail
Idaho Statesman
Voting by mail is not new or untested. Oregon has been voting exclusively by mail for 20 years, with great success and bipartisan support. Five states conduct all elections entirely by mail: Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Utah, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At least 21 other states have laws that allow certain smaller elections, such as school board contests, to be conducted by mail.
 
More Kansans voting early or by mail amid virus outbreak
Huron Daily Tribune
Kansas is one of 30 states that don’t require a voter to have a reason to vote absentee, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A
 

July 28

99 Days Left Until Election Day
Politico
Minnesota has the earliest in-person early voting, according to a rundown from the National Conference of State Legislatures, starting 46 days before Election Day.
 
Scarborough working on 5G ordinance
Press Herald
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in 2019, the state approved An Act To Facilitate the Deployment of Small Wireless Facilities in Maine, which “provides that a small wireless facility must be a permitted use within the public right-of-way, subject to any duly adopted, nondiscriminatory conditions otherwise applicable to permitted uses within the municipality and consistent with state and federal law, including, without limitation, any permitting requirements in the Maine Revised Statutes.”
 
NY mail-in voting deluge fuels uncounted ballots, confusion
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Five states — Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Utah — have conducted all elections by mail for years with relatively streamlined systems, while 21 other states allow localities to opt into mail-in elections, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Paul W. Schlecht: Liberals sneak social engineering into public policy

Madison.Com
“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.”
 
California Proposition 18: Lowering The Legal Voting Age
KALW
At least 18 other states have made similar changes to their election laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 

July 27

NY mail-in voting deluge fuels uncounted ballots, confusion
Mooresville Tribune
Five states — Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Utah — have conducted all elections by mail for years with relatively streamlined systems, while 21 other states allow localities to opt into mail-in elections, according to National Conferences of State Legislatures.
 
Major candidates stake out positions in Vermont governor’s race
Valley News
The economy has slowed to a crawl as the state tries to turn back the novel coronavirus and Vermont’s finances are in tatters, with a projected revenue decline of 17% in 2021, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Golden Years can be downright annoying, unfair
The Times
As the National Conference of State Legislatures put it: “While older drivers have lower crash rates reported to the police, the likelihood of seniors being involved in a fatal crash goes up after age 70. Nine states are considering legislation on older driver issues in 2015, with Nevada and Virginia enacting new laws. A number of states considered legislation dealing with medical fitness.”
 

July 23

Police reform bill passed by Minnesota legislature doesn’t go far enough, critics say
The Washington Post
More than 375 bills on police reform have been introduced in 32 states since Floyd’s death, according to a database compiled by the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Revealed: states' restrictive voter ID laws have cost taxpayers $36m
MSN Money
While the rest of the state was under “stay-at-home” advisories because of coronavirus, the Kentucky legislature convened in early March and April in order to pass its voter ID bill and then again to override the governor’s veto. When SB2 went into effect on 15 July, Kentucky became the 19th state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, that requires voters to present a photo ID at the polls, and voters who apply for absentee ballots must include a copy of their ID.
 
States want to speed the process for mail-in ballots
NBC News
Processing ballots before Election Day would make "a significant difference," said Wendy Underhill, director of the elections team of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Other states have begun passing legislation in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Here’s what Rhode Island is doing.
Providence Journal
As a starting point, the task force initiated by the lone Black in the R.I. Senate — Democrat Harold Metts of Providence — looked to the National Conference of State Legislatures for insight into what other states have done since Floyd’s May 25 murder.
 
Tennessee secretary of state opposes absentee drop boxes
Martinsville Bureau
Ten states have drop boxes in some or all counties, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, though several more have added the option.
 

July 22

States want to speed the process for mail-in ballots
NBC News
Processing ballots before Election Day would make "a significant difference," said Wendy Underhill, director of the elections team of the National Conference of State Legislatures. "Americans are used to getting preliminary unofficial election results on Election Night. But depending on the processing plans in place, it could be days extra." State processing timelines were determined decades ago, Underhill said, in places where just 3 percent to 5 percent of votes were absentee ballots. Now, because of the pandemic, states are seeing a huge influx of interest in mail-in ballots, which can be returned in the mail or dropped off in person by Election Day.
 
The case for treating teachers around the world as essential front-line workers
The Washington Post
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), sectors deemed “essential” by federal and/or state guidelines include energy; child care; water and wastewater; agriculture and food production; critical retail, such as grocery stores, hardware stores and mechanics; critical trades, such as construction workers, electricians, plumbers, etc.; transportation; and some social service organizations. While at least 28 states labeled child-care providers as essential workers, teachers weren’t, according to the NCSL.
 
Teachers Push Back on Reopening in Florida
The New York Times
Will Americans buy it? “Our intent at this point is just to put it on the table,” Rapoport said. He pitched the idea to lawmakers last year at a meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures in Nashville. “The reaction was mixed,” he said. “Some were immediately negative, but others said they thought it was an intriguing idea. And several said they would like to submit legislation embodying it in their states.”
 
There's A High Bar For Legislative Candidates Without A Party
Honolulu Civil Beat
Winger, whose expertise is recommended by the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, said the U.S. Supreme Court “has made clear” that states cannot go above 5% as a vote requirement for moving on from the primary to the general election.
 
Statehouse Democrats, Black leaders call for August special session

Evening News and Tribune
The actions the legislators hope to pass in the special session include extending no-excuse absentee voting for Hoosiers, allowing anyone to vote with an absentee ballot without a specific reason. Indiana was one of 16 states that didn’t allow no-excuse absentee voting when the primary was originally scheduled in May, according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 

July 21

Teachers Push Back on Reopening in Florida
The New York Times
Australia’s requirement is no diktat, said Miles Rapoport, a fellow in democracy studies at the Kennedy School and a co-author of the proposal with E.J. Dionne Jr. of the Brookings Institution. Will Americans buy it? “Our intent at this point is just to put it on the table,” Rapoport said. He pitched the idea to lawmakers last year at a meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures in Nashville. “The reaction was mixed,” he said. “Some were immediately negative, but others said they thought it was an intriguing idea. And several said they would like to submit legislation embodying it in their states.”
 
Election lawsuits set record pace amid COVID-19 pandemic as results decide who votes and how Nov. 3
USA Today
Most states restore felons' right to vote after their sentences and parole are complete. Florida is among 11 states with the most restrictive rules, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
INSIGHT: Should Independent Contractors Sign Covid-19 Liability Waivers?
Bloomberg Law
Such a claim is more likely to be made in states that have enacted laws creating a presumption that the illness was contracted at work. According to an article published by the National Conference of State Legislatures in June, six states by then had enacted legislation creating a presumption of coverage for various types of workers who claim they contracted Covid-19 in a work-related setting.
 
A wrinkle in Tennessee law may keep some nursing home residents from voting
Local News 8 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, absentee or mailed ballots in several ways “are as secure or more secure than traditional methods of voting.” One in four votes in the 2018 election were cast by mail-in ballots, and many states have moved to make the process even easier.
 
Spending on Contracts Drives Growth in Federal Defense Dollars to States

Stateline
The federal government spends money on national defense in every state, and, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, defense dollars are a major economic driver for many communities across the nation.
 

July 20

Election lawsuits set record pace amid COVID-19 pandemic as results decide who votes and how Nov. 3
USA TODAY
Most states restore felons' right to vote after their sentences and parole are complete. Florida is among 11 states with the most restrictive rules, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Florida adopted a state constitutional amendment in 2018 to allow felons to vote after completing their sentences. But a state law required the felons to pay outstanding fines and restitution before voting.
 
Charter schools are a mixed bag for Colorado learning and politics
The Colorado Gazette
NCSL Information Cited.
 
New election law leaves voters with few alternative ways to vote in November
The Daily Journal
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, around 38 states plus the District of Columbia allow some version of early voting for state residents. Mississippi does not have early voting, only absentee voting.
 
A wrinkle in Tennessee law may keep some nursing home residents from voting
WENY-TV
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, mental or physical limitations can make it difficult for nursing home residents to vote. As a result, 32 states including Tennessee have statutes that specifically call for assistance to be brought into nursing homes to help.
 

July 16

Borrowing bill takes another step
Politico Playbook
“The U.S. Census Bureau expects to certify New Jersey’s population no later than June 17. New Jersey was informed of the new target date on Monday on a call with census officials organized by the National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL), the New Jersey Globe has learned. The state Office of Legislative Services participated on the call.”
 
Reusable shopping bags make a COVID-19 comeback after surface contamination fears sparked bans
Fast Company
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, eight states ban disposable shopping bags: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon, and Vermont. In addition, some cities have bans, with or without fees, such as Chicago; Seattle; Boulder, Colorado; Portland, Maine; and Washington, D.C.
 
Lawsuits Claim States Without Prepaid Ballots Impose ‘Poll Tax’
Bloomberg Government
Currently, all military personnel may return ballots postage paid. Eighteen states also provide return postage for all mail-in ballots, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
State Forecasts Indicate $121 Billion 2-Year Tax Revenue Losses Compared to FY 2019
Tax Foundation
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) maintains its own table of state forecasts; extrapolating from midpoint estimates as compiled by NCSL yields a loss of about $154 billion compared to initial revenue projections in FY 2021.[9]
 
Bill Prohibiting Campaigns From Collecting Sealed Mail-In Ballots Proposed In Utah
KEUR 90
“From a voter’s point of view, it may be taken as a kindness if someone offers to mail in or drop off a voted ballot (in its signed envelope),” wrote Wendy Underhill, director of the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures’ Elections and Redistricting Program, in a blog post.
 

July 15

Fact check: Mailing ballots to dead people not leading to voter fraud, experts and studies say
USA Today
The National Conference of State Legislature's site states, "When the ballot is returned to the election office, election officials have a process for examining each and every signature and comparing it to other documents in their files that contains the voter signature – usually the voter registration record."
 
Congress weighs further aid to states amid revenue shortfalls and steep budget cuts
13 KRCG
According to Erlinda Doherty, director of the budget and revenue committee for the National Conference of State Legislatures, some initially held back on using funds waiting for clarity from Treasury on what was considered a coronavirus-related expense, but most have figured out what to do with the money at this point. “Some states have gotten to be very innovative on how to use those funds,” Doherty said.
 
New York, New Jersey Mail-in Voting Problems May Foreshadow Difficulties in Upcoming Presidential Vote
The Epoch Times
Certain states allow some elections to be carried out by mail, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). They are Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, and Wyoming.
 
Congress weighs protecting employers vs. workers in new pandemic legislation
The Philadelphia Inquirer
States have taken some matters in their own hands during months of federal inaction. At least 25 states have created some degree of legal immunity for doctors or facilities, through new laws or executive orders, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Good luck getting workers’ compensation if you catch COVID-19 on the job
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
A few states are trying, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In California, an executive order and several pending bills extend coverage to all workers who test positive for the coronavirus and aren’t working exclusively from home.
 
Oregon, other states putting names of ousted police online
The Register Guard
The national outcry after the killing of Floyd in Minneapolis has accelerated states moving toward greater transparency about bad actors in law enforcement, said Amber Widgery, who specializes in justice issues at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “We’ve seen unprecedented, swift responses,” Widgery said.
 
Indiana execution reignites death penalty debate; prosecutors weigh in
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier
Capital punishment is authorized in 28 states, and the federal government and the military, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
General Assembly passes new laws
Shelbyville Sentinel News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of Dec. 31 a total of 36 states approved laws requesting or requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls, but not all require a photo ID.
 
NJ Census data expected to be certified by June 17
New Jersey Globe | New Jersey Politics
The U.S. Census Bureau expects to certify New Jersey’s population no later than June 17.
New Jersey was informed of the new target date on Monday on a call with census officials organized by the National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL), the New Jersey Globe has learned.
 

July 14

Oregon, other states putting names of ousted police online
Minneapolis Star Tribune
The national outcry after the killing of Floyd in Minneapolis has accelerated states moving toward greater transparency about bad actors in law enforcement, said Amber Widgery, who specializes in justice issues at the National Conference of State Legislatures. "We've seen unprecedented, swift responses," Widgery said.
 
Should the state investigate local police shootings? California rethinks its resistance
Mountain View
Since Floyd's Memorial Day death, 31 states have introduced 307 law enforcement-related bills, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California is considering six bills, including proposed bans on chokeholds or carotid restraints, and against using kinetic energy projectiles or chemical weapons to break up demonstrations.
 
Next Showdown in Congress: Protecting Workers vs. Protecting Employers in the Pandemic
Kaiser Health News
States have taken some matters in their own hands during months of federal inaction. At least 25 states have created some degree of legal immunity for doctors or facilities, through new laws or executive orders, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Good luck getting workers’ compensation if you catch COVID-19 on the job | Editorial
Sun Sentinel
A few states are trying, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In California, an executive order and several pending bills extend coverage to all workers who test positive for the coronavirus and aren’t working exclusively from home. Bills covering most essential workers are pending in Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Michigan, Ohio and Vermont, passed in Illinois, and failed in Kansas and Louisiana.
 
Here are the 12 propositions on California’s November ballot
LA Times
At least 18 states have similar laws on the books, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Supporters of the proposal argue that more of these new voters will get engaged with issues if they can participate in a full election cycle. As it stands now, an 18-year-old Californian whose birthday was after the March 3 presidential primary missed out on the chance to pick some candidates and now gets to vote only for one of the smaller group of hopefuls who made it to the Nov. 3 ballot.
 

July 13

Citing census delay, New Jersey looks to push legislative redistricting to 2023
Roll Call
Other states also will have to deal with constitutional issues because of the delays, a concern raised by the National Conference of State Legislatures. More than two dozen states have constitutional deadlines that would be difficult or impossible to meet with the delay, the group said in a May letter to the Census Bureau.
 
How to vote in Maine's Tuesday election if you haven't already
Bangor Daily News
Maine has a tradition of liberal voting rules and is one of 21 states with same-day voter registration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Anyone not registered to vote in their city or town can show up to a polling place, show identification and proof of residency, register and vote. You do not need identification to vote, only to register.
 
NC Republicans try again to dislodge voter ID from courts
Statesville Record & Landmark
Thirty-five states have laws currently in force requesting or requiring some kind of identification be shown at the polls, with about half of them asking for a photo ID, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Despite court victory, LGBT boosters gird for more fights in Ga.
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Since then, Georgia has remained one of only three states without a broad, state-level civil rights law protecting employees from discrimination based on factors like sex, race, religion or national origin, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.
 
U.S. Supreme Court Hands Win to Religious Employers in Health Care Workforce
Georgia Recorder
Most states ban employment discrimination on the basis of age and disability, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Should State Officials Review Police Shootings?
Gazette Newspapers
Since Floyd’s Memorial Day death, 31 states have introduced 307 law enforcement-related bills, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California is considering six bills, including proposed bans on chokeholds or carotid restraints, and against using kinetic energy projectiles or chemical weapons to break up demonstrations.
 
Mark Ballard: Louisiana lawmakers struggle how, or even whether, to talk about racism
The Advocate
Since the May 25 death of Floyd, the National Conference of State Legislatures charted 259 bills and resolutions filed in 26 states that deal with police training, standards, certification and use of force.
 
Should the state investigate local police shootings? California rethinks its resistance
ABC10.com KXTV
Since Floyd’s Memorial Day death, 31 states have introduced 307 law enforcement-related bills, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California is considering six bills, including proposed bans on chokeholds or carotid restraints, and against using kinetic energy projectiles or chemical weapons to break up demonstrations.
 

July 10

Despite court victory, LGBT boosters gird for more fights in Ga.
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Since then, Georgia has remained one of only three states without a broad, state-level civil rights law protecting employees from discrimination based on factors like sex, race, religion or national origin, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. 

U.S. Supreme Court Hands Win to Religious Employers in Health Care Workforce
Georgia Recorder
Most states ban employment discrimination on the basis of age and disability, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 

July 9

You may soon lose unemployment benefits — and that extra $600 a week — if you’re not hunting for jobs
CNBC
All states had eased their work-search requirements by late April and early May, around the peak of state lockdowns, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Polk’s teacher of the year publishes book on learning through COVID-19
The Ledger
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, governors and legislatures throughout the country have called for the closure of at least 124,000 public schools in 48 states and every U.S. territory. 
 
How Partisan Gerrymandering Limits Voting Rights
Center for American Progress
National Conference of State Legislatures, “Automatic Voter Registration,” April 14, 2020, available at https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/automatic-voter-registration.aspx
 

July 8

Fraud is rare in U.S. mail-in voting. Here are the methods that prevent it
Reuters
Some 29 states and the District of Columbia allow voters to track their ballots to ensure they are received, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Fourteen states and D.C. also allow voters to return their ballots by hand if they don’t trust the mail.
 
Florida becomes first state to enact DNA privacy law, blocking insurers from genetic data
The Apopka Voice
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Florida is among 16 states that require informed consent for a third party to perform, require or obtain genetic information, among 24 states that require informed consent to disclose genetic information, and among five states that define genetic information as personal property.
 

July 7

Massachusetts approves vote by mail; Voters will get applications to vote remotely now that voting reform bill is law
Mass Live
Massachusetts is one of at least 13 states started considering voting bills in light of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a tally by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Elections in Wisconsin and Georgia during the coronavirus pandemic prompted voting rights advocates and lawmakers to push for reforms in other states with upcoming elections.
 
 
COVID-19 immunity flounders in Tennessee
FOX 17 Nashville
Nearly 30 states have considered some sort of liability protection proposal since the pandemic first erupted across the country earlier this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 

July 2

NM lawmakers should set new redistricting criteria
Albuquerque Journal
The Brennan Center for Justice, the National Conference of State Legislatures, independent scholars and state agencies have proposed fair and purposeful criteria for drawing voting districts.
 
For The First Time Since 1928, No Washington Statewide Initiatives In Presidential Election Year
OPB Radio
Washington and Oregon are among 14 states that allow direct initiatives to the people without first going to the Legislature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Two additional states, Alaska and Wyoming, allow direct initiatives, but only after the Legislature has adjourned for the year. 
 
COVID-19 Immunity Proposal Flounders In Tennessee
91.3 WKMS
Nearly 30 states have considered some sort of liability protection proposal since the pandemic first erupted across the country earlier this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 

July 2

Here are the 12 propositions on California’s November ballot
Los Angeles Times
At least 18 states have similar laws on the books, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures
 
On policing, state leaders struggle to respond to demands for fundamental change
Politico
Eighteen of the states whose legislatures are still in session are considering dozens of bills, according to a National Conference of State Legislatures database, but all but a handful are stuck in committee.

Policing Protests Propel Marijuana Decriminalization Efforts
PEW
Today adults can legally use small amounts of marijuana in 11 states and Washington, D.C., and people with certain health conditions can purchase or grow pot for medical use in 33 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Protests prompt policing changes but not enough
The Ponca City News
The urgency of the public protests, paired with legislative sessions interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, put policing changes on a fast track in Colorado and elsewhere, said Amber Widgery, a policy analyst with the criminal justice program of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
“It’s an unprecedented response from legislatures,” Widgery said. “We’ve seen a lot of action. We’ve seen a lot of quick action.”
 

July 1

Here are the 12 propositions on California’s November ballot
Los Angeles Times
At least 18 states have similar laws on the books, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures
 
On policing, state leaders struggle to respond to demands for fundamental change
Politico
Eighteen of the states whose legislatures are still in session are considering dozens of bills, according to a National Conference of State Legislatures database, but all but a handful are stuck in committee.
 
Policing Protests Propel Marijuana Decriminalization Efforts
PEW
Today adults can legally use small amounts of marijuana in 11 states and Washington, D.C., and people with certain health conditions can purchase or grow pot for medical use in 33 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Protests prompt policing changes but not enough
The Ponca City News
The urgency of the public protests, paired with legislative sessions interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, put policing changes on a fast track in Colorado and elsewhere, said Amber Widgery, a policy analyst with the criminal justice program of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
“It’s an unprecedented response from legislatures,” Widgery said. “We’ve seen a lot of action. We’ve seen a lot of quick action.”
 

July 1

Red states advancing bills to curb mail-in voting
The Hill
The added work of distributing, collecting and processing so many new absentee ballots is a significant concern for state election administrators, said Wendy Underhill, who directs the elections and redistricting team at the National Conference on State Legislatures. “It’s not like the experience in the primaries indicates that was an easy shift,” she said. “We still have long lines in many places.”
 
House Democrats unveil ambitious climate package, steering toward a net-zero economy by 2050
The Washington Post
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 30 states and the District of Columbia have already mandated utilities to get more of their electricity from renewable or other clean-energy sources.
 
The Supreme Court Stopped Anti-Abortion Momentum. For Now.
The New York Times
Control of state legislatures is also on the table. Nearly 80 percent of state seats are up for election this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
New cellphone driving laws go into effect Wednesday in Idaho, Indiana and South Dakota. How effective are similar bans in other states?
USA Today
Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia have banned texting while driving — only Montana and Missouri don't have such a law for all drivers — according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Protests Prompt Policing Changes, But Skeptics Doubt They Will Be Enough
PEW
The urgency of the public protests, paired with legislative sessions interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, put policing changes on a fast track in Colorado and elsewhere, said Amber Widgery, a policy analyst with the criminal justice program of the National Conference of State Legislatures. “It's an unprecedented response from legislatures,” Widgery said. “We’ve seen a lot of action. We’ve seen a lot of quick action.”