NCSL in the News | June 2014

6/18/2014

June 30

#CAP2CAP e-VIDEO
In this week’s edition of #Cap2Cap, #NCSL covers recent proposals from Congress to fund the Highway Trust Fund and the impact federal inaction may have on state infrastructure projects. Also included in this two-minute e-Video update is a brief overview of a letter sent to Congress on the Export/Import Bank and a second letter discussing public pensions and the significant reforms undergone in the states. Watch the video

Obama boosts paid family, medical leave
All three fund the benefit available to workers in the public and private sector through an employee-paid tax, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. As is often the case, such state laws can serve as models not only to others, but also to the federal government. The Boston Globe

Opinion: Does it matter if Washington doesn’t get anything done?
States and cities have also been picking up the slack. Again, the minimum wage is an area of lots of subnational activity. According to the National Conference of State Legislators, “38 states have considered minimum wage bills during the 2014 session.” The city of Seattle recently agreed to raise its minimum up to $15 on hour, with a long phase-in period. Miami Herald

Editorial: Arming teachers? It's a dud
Georgia isn’t the first state to respond to school violence by allowing staff to carry guns. After 20 children and six adults died during a 2012 elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., at least nine states passed bills in 2013 authorizing armed school personnel, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Savannahnow News Now

Midnight oil being burned in two state Capitols this weekend to get a budget done on time
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures' website, both happen to be the only legislatures burning the midnight oil trying to finalize a budget before the July 1 start of the new fiscal year. PennLive

Ga. schools resist arming teachers despite new law
Georgia isn't the first state to respond to school violence by allowing staff to carry guns. After 20 children and 6 adults died during a 2012 elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, at least nine states passed bills in 2013 authorizing armed school personnel, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Other states had similar programs in place before that shooting. In 2014, at least 14 more states including Georgia introduced similar bills. Kansas City Star/Associated Press

Minimum wage debate pits cities against states
In 2011 and 2012, four states passed laws keeping state minimum wages from being higher than the federal wage. This year, 14 such bills have been introduced, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Hartford Sentinel

Missouri enters debate over e-cigarette regulations
At least 38 states, including Kansas in 2012, have beat the FDA to the punch by prohibiting sales of electronic cigarettes to minors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. About a dozen states have enacted some form of ban in public places such as schools and government buildings. Kansas City Star

Rep. Maloney wants federal age restriction for indoor tanning
Nearly half of states already have age-based restrictions, ranging from 13 to 18, requiring varying degrees of a parental consent, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In New York, would-be tanners must be at least 17. Newsday

June 27

Group asks judge to halt Arkansas voter-ID law
Thirty-one states have laws in effect requiring voters to show some form of identification, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Seven states have strict photo ID requirements similar to Arkansas. Arkansas Online

Ga. schools resist arming teachers despite new law
After 20 children and 6 adults died during a 2012 elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, at least nine states passed bills in 2013 authorizing armed school personnel, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Other states had similar programs in place before that shooting. In 2014, at least 14 more states including Georgia introduced similar bills. The Kansas City Star

State texting ban to take effect July 1
While Montana remains the only state that has yet to pass a texting ban, South Dakota and Florida are the only states that categorize texting while driving as a secondary offense, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. CapJournal 

VA should follow Vt. lead on nurse practitioners
Renowned national policy organizations and government bodies —from the Federal Trade Commission, AARP, Institute of Medicine, National Governors Association and National Conference of State Legislatures — have taken notice of these statistics, calling for more independence for nurse practitioners across the United States. Burlington Free Press

Should States Allow Vaccine Exemptions for Religious Reasons?
Every state except for Mississippi and West Virginia permit a religious exemption, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Deerpark Patch

Campus gun proposal not headed to Colorado ballots
Colorado is one of seven states where concealed weapons are allowed on college campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. KJCT-Colorado/Associated Press

June 26

When Getting Photos Developed Leads to Trouble With the Law
At least 10 states — although not New York — have specific laws on the books obligating technicians to report suspected child porn or face charges themselves, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some states, such as Oregon, South Carolina and Texas, say employees who alert police "in good faith" can't be held liable even if the photos turn out to be innocent. NBC News

Editorial - Take steps to increase voting
Ten states and Washington, D.C., already allow same-day voter registration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Sponsors of Illinois' bill said they'd seek to expand the law beyond November if things went smoothly. This legislation follows allowing 17-year-olds to vote in last March's primary if they were going to turn 18 before the November general election. The Herald News

Group asks judge to halt Arkansas voter ID law
Thirty-one states have laws in effect requiring voters to show some form of identification, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Seven states have strict photo ID requirements similar to Arkansas. Stuttgart Daily/Associated Press

States find their payout disappointing
This year, California, Mississippi and New York have introduced bills to allow online gambling, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, while Pennsylvania introduced legislation to prohibit online gambling. The Mississippi bill to legalize Internet gambling died in committee. Legislators in West Virginia introduced a resolution to study Internet gambling and lottery. The Bulletin/Stateline

June 25

States Are Strengthening Teacher Preparation Laws
The rollout of Common Core, the new state standards that demand more of students and teachers, as well as research on the changing needs of the workforce, are placing teacher preparation front and center in state houses, said Michelle Exstrom, an education policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “I think states are just expecting more, so they’re outlining what teachers and students should know coming out of preparation programs and then asking prep programs to get their students there,” she said. Governing

Hotels don't need CO alarms, new rules say
Eleven states have laws requiring CO alarms in hotels, but no state requires them in each hotel room or common area, says Doug Farquhar of the National Conference of State Legislatures. USA Today

Federal Dispatches: Bills address raises, funding for IRS
All three fund the benefit available to workers in the public and private sector through an employee-paid tax, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. The Washington Post

Alabama GOP chairman says Mississippi Senate race strengthens argument for party registration
States vary widely in their laws on party registration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Alabama is one of 11 states with open primaries. Al.com

Physicians Uneasy Vetting Conceal-and-Carry Gun Applicants
Every state allows its citizens to legally carry a concealed handgun, although 10 states restrict this right, requiring a person to demonstrate need or exercising discretion in issuing permits, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Medscape

Mobile Web Siphons Revenue From Cities as Landlines Fade
I imagine at some point you'll have an app called the 'Call Your Friend' app and you won't be using the phone network at all," said Max Behlke, the manager of state-federal relations for the National Conference of State Legislatures in Washington. "It is a concern for states and localities because this has been one of the most reliable revenue streams they have. Phone service is almost as much a necessity as food." Bloomberg

EDITORIAL: Bloated Pa. Legislature needs to shrink
Only four states — Idaho, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Wyoming — have reduced the size of their General Assemblies since 1990, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. "When a change in the size of a Legislature is considered, debate typically centers around three major themes: representation, efficiency and cost," the organization's program principal, Brenda Erickson, told PennLive. The Mercury

Our View: Take steps to encourage more voting
Ten states and Washington, D.C., already allow same-day voter registration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Sponsors of Illinois' bill said they'd seek to expand the law beyond November if things went smoothly. Northwest Herald

McDonnell failure to disclose Goodwin gift could bolster prosecution's case
State law at the time would have allowed the trip as long as it was documented for public review. "The general idea behind disclosure laws is so the public has knowledge of any possible conflicts of interest," said Peggy Kerns, ethics expert for the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Daily Progress

Civil rights advocates urge judge to prevent enforcement of Arkansas voter ID law
Thirty-one states have laws in effect requiring voters to show some form of identification, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Seven states have strict photo ID requirements similar to Arkansas. Associated Press

Michigan 'Breastfeeding Anti-Discrimination Act' signed by Gov. Snyder protects nursing mothers
Forty-five states already have some form of law allowing women to breastfeed a child in public or private locations, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures. Another 29 states exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws. Michigan Live

Benefits of minimum wage increase debated
Thirty-eight state legislatures considered minimum-wage bills this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In Georgia, Senate Bill 314 called for raising Georgia's minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, but it didn't get so much as a hearing. Atlanta Journal Constitution

Full-time moms make time to be full-time students
The National Conference of State Legislatures says only 40 percent of teen mothers finish high school. Ninety-eight percent of those who do fail to finish college by age 30. Texas Lutheran University students Sawyer Johnson and Mallery Merchant have no intention of adding to that statistic. Sequin Gazette

June 24

Lou Cannon: Deadlocked Washington Leaves Heavy Lifting to the States
“One of the great mistakes that national experts and the media have made in the 20 years I’ve been in this business is not paying enough attention to the states,” said Tim Storey, a political analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures. “That’s never been more true than in the last 12 months, when states have been innovating in both conservative and liberal directions while very little is happening in Washington.” State Net Capitol Journal/Noozhawk

Group asks judge to halt Arkansas voter-ID law
Thirty-one states have laws in effect requiring voters to show some form of identification, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Seven states have strict photo ID requirements similar to Arkansas. ArkansasOnline

Online gambling revenues fall short
This year, California, Mississippi and New York have introduced bills to allow online gambling, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, while Pennsylvania introduced legislation to prohibit online gambling. Stateline/The Leaf Chronicle

What paid family leave looks like in the three states that require it
All three fund the benefit available to workers in the public and private sector through an employee-paid tax, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. Washington Post-Gov Beat

ka-CHING! Cyber crime notification costs a lot
Forty-seven states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have enacted legislation requiring private or government entities to notify individuals of security breaches of information involving personally identifiable information," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Those states include Maine and New Hampshire. ka-CHING! Portland City Sun

Why Governments Are Promoting Open Data
Many state legislatures are working to set policies for releasing data. Since the start of 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, nine states have enacted open-data laws, and more legislation is pending. But California, for instance, has been posting open data for five years without legislation setting policies. Governing

June 23

Hotels don't need CO alarms, new rules say
Eleven states have laws requiring CO alarms in hotels, but no state requires them in each hotel room or common area, says Doug Farquhar of the National Conference of State Legislatures. USA Today

Costs, logistics slow SD voting center expansion
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, South Dakota is one of 10 states that let counties adopt the alternative system. AP/The Brookings Register

Attorney general files charges over revenge porn website
At least 27 states have or are considering legislation to crack down on such sites, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Napa Valley Register  

Proposals would do little to limit mug shot publications
Seven states – Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, Texas, Utah and Wyoming – have passed laws since 2013 to deal with the use of mug shots, according to research from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Another measure is pending in South Carolina. WRAL.com

Democrats Playing Defense in 2014 State Legislative Races
The current partisan breakdown in each chamber comes from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Governing 

Community News
[Kansas House] Speaker Pro Tem Peggy Mast (R-Emporia) has been chosen to participate in a special legislative leadership program focused on education issues organized by the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nationwide bipartisan organization. The Emporia Gazette

Business battle among states heats up  
In its latest State Budget Update, the National Conference of State Legislatures says 43 states are on track to meet or exceed their revenue for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30 in most states. (Only Delaware, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Carolina and Indiana are expected to miss their targets, the organization says.) Compare this year's mostly rosy forecast to 2009, when NCSL reported all but four states faced budget shortfalls. The turnaround is far from complete, however. "Officials are concerned about sluggish revenue growth, rebuilding reserves and long-term spending trends—especially for K–12 education and health care," NCSL said. CNBC

New York will likely be the 23rd state to OK medical marijuana—just don't smoke it
Minnesota passed a restrictive medical marijuana law last month that similarly bans smoking of the drug, while Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) on Monday signed a very limited law, which — as in seven other states — only allows for products with low levels of its active chemical THC, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. (Florida and the seven others are not included in the overall count of those that allow medical marijuana.) Washington Post-Gov Beat

New York to be next state to allow medical marijuana
New York will be the 23rd state, along with the District of Columbia, to allow medical marijuana in some form, according to information compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. CNN

Ralph Reed: Those who oppose same-sex marriage can draw lessons from fight against slavery
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures,"since the beginning of 2011, eight states have passed legislation, one adopted it by initiative and three allow same-sex marriage as a result of court decisions. In six of the states that adopted same-sex marriage by legislation, they overturned previous statutes that prohibited same-sex marriage.") Yahoo News

Colorado marijuana audits receive national recognition
The National State Auditors Association gave Colorado its Excellence in Accountability Award in the large performance-audit category, which is given to only one winner each year for government auditing excellence. The National Legislative Program Evaluation Society, part of the National Conference of State Legislatures, awarded its Certificate of Impact in recognition of documenting public policy impact and program improvements. The Denver Post

Pennsylvania among few states to struggle with budget deficit
Todd Haggerty, a policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said recovery from the economic downturn since 2008 has been slower than recoveries from previous slumps in the market. "The trough of the Great Recession was so deep that the climb out of it has been very difficult and gradual," Haggerty said. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Don't cross the pollinators: Starting July 1, they're protected by law
Minnesota is the first state with those types of laws, said Scott Hendrick, program director for environment for the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. Minnesota Post

Lawmakers' travel perk eases commute
The state has one of 10 full-time legislatures in the nation and ranks among the highest in terms of lawmaker compensation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Salem News

Panel OKs 2 percent cost-of-living raises for California statewide officeholders, legislators
California's legislative salaries are trailed by Pennsylvania, which pays its lawmakers $84,012 a year plus $157 a day for their expenses, according to a survey this year by the National Conference of State Legislatures. New York was third, paying $79,500 plus $172 for daily expenses. Fox Business News/Associated Press
 
Chasing the heroin resurgence
At least 18 state legislatures addressed new heroin bills this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Subjects range from allowing easier access to drugs that counteract opioid overdoses for first responders and the public to leniency for low-level heroin offenders who agree to treatment. Some states also are debating legislation that would toughen sentences for major drug crimes and trafficking involving heroin. Zanesville Times Recorder/The Cincinnati Enquirer

Legal for boss to ask for your social media password
Our research found in the past 2 years, a dozen states have passed password protection laws to stop employers from asking for passwords to personal accounts in order to get or keep a job. Legislation has been introduced in at least 25 other states this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. WGME

Gender loses its impact with the young
In state government, gender-neutral language is becoming the norm. According to Kae Warnock, a policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver, at least 30 states have addressed the gender-neutral issue. Many have language in statutes providing that sentences using masculine gender also include the feminine. Some statutes require that new laws and those that amend existing law be drafted in gender-neutral terms. A few states have amended all statutes with gender-neutral language. KVUE-ABC

June 20

Bobby Jindal has a harder time getting out of Common Core than other governors
Thirteen states have scrapped plans to use the PARCC test or a similar assessment so far, according to Daniel Thatcher, a senior policy specialist who tracks Common Core issues for the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Times Picayune

The Politics Of The Common Core
This year alone, state legislatures have seen more than 340 bills related to the Core standards, most . That's according to a tally from the National Conference of State Legislatures. While much of that legislation made – or sought to make – minor changes to the Core standards, 35 bills (in 11 states) attempted to revoke state adoption entirely. NPR

Minimum wage debate pits cities vs. states
In 2011 and 2012, four states passed laws keeping state minimum wages from being higher than the federal wage. This year, 14 such bills have been introduced, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Oneida Dispatch/Associated Press

New York Minimum Wage Increase Uncertain as Session Nears End
An increase has also been under consideration in 34 states this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. So far, eight states, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Vermont, West Virginia and the District of Columbia, have enacted minimum wage increases, the group said. Money News

Mass. Election Year SuperPAC Disclosure Bill On The Move
Twelve states allow unlimited contributions, according data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, while six states, including, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, have a $1,000 limit. Wyoming’s donation limits are due to increase in January from $1,000. WBUR/Associated Press

Connecticut legislators in 13th year without a raise
(NCSL Data Cited) The Connecticut Mirror

June 19

Lawmakers look to limit drone surveillance
So far, 14 states have passed laws limiting the use of drones, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Many others established task forces to study the issue. In all, 43 states in 2013 and 35 states in 2014 considered bills related to drone use. Cincinnati Inquirer/USA Today

Corker proposes higher fuel tax to pay for repairs to highway infrastructure
The National Conference of State Legislatures says all states face gaps between existing transportation revenues and projected needs, with a cumulative nationwide shortfall estimated at $1 trillion through 2015. Times News 

State of Georgia : Sen. Ross Tolleson Attends NCSL North Dakota Energy Tour
Sen. Ross Tolleson (R- Perry) attended the National Conference of State Legislature's (NCSL) summer North Dakota Energy Tour last week in Bismarck, N.D.  Legislators from across the country were invited to tour modern coal mines and power plants to see how the industry is addressing environmental issues and using advanced technologies to produce power with lignite coal more cleanly. 4-Traders Energy News

US state attorneys general support CSIA’s preemption provisions
Meanwhile, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has opposed the revised draft of the TSCA reform measure in the House, the Chemicals in Commerce Act (CICA). The new draft “does not take into account the concerns of our nation’s state legislatures”, the group say in a letter to House Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy Chairman John Shimkus (Republican-Illinois), the author of CICA, and ranking member, Paul Tonko (Democrat-New York). Chemical Watch

June 18

Paid sick leave law administrative burden for employers, but benefits employees
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only three states offer paid family and medical leave: California, New Jersey and Rhode Island. Also, Connecticut is the only state that has required employers offer paid sick leave to employees. Employee Benefit News

Immigrant driver licenses plunge in New Mexico
Eleven states and the District of Columbia have recently enacted laws to extend driving privileges to immigrants in the country illegally, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bellingham Herald

KY lawmaker enlists help to stop spying with drones

So far, 14 states have passed laws limiting the use of drones, including Indiana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Many others established task forces to study the issue. In all, 43 states in 2013 and 35 states in 2014 considered bills related to drone use. Cincinnati.com

A $15 minimum wage in Indy? Unlikely
Indiana is among 14 states that have a law barring local jurisdictions from passing citywide minimum wage ordinances, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. IndyStar

Map: 22 states have passed new voting restrictions over the past four years
Laws requiring that voters present some form of ID at the polls are in effect in 31 states, according to a count last month by the bipartisan National Conference on State Legislatures. Washington Post Gov-Beat

Costs, logistics slow SD voting center expansion
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, South Dakota is one of 10 states that let counties adopt the alternative system. They rely on an electronic check-in process that gives voters the flexibility of visiting one of several locations in the county. Seven counties used the centers in the primary. Research indicates that the centers save money in the long run, said Wendy Underhill, a program manager with the National Conference of State Legislatures. But skeptics argue implementation of the system could be pricey. Kansas City Star

Clinician Sues Hospital Over Medical-Marijuana Firing
New Mexico is one of 22 states, along with Washington, D.C., that have legalized the comprehensive use of medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Medscape Medical News

Tennessee Voices: Nurse practitioners play crucial role
Renowned national organizations like the Institute of Medicine, the National Governors Association and National Conference of State Legislatures have taken notice of these statistics, calling for more independence for nurse practitioners across the country. Unfortunately, Tennessee law doesn’t allow nurse practitioners to practice to the full extent of their education, clinical expertise and certification, which limits the use of the state’s existing health-care workforce. Tennessean

June 17

Is New Jersey Like Detroit?
According to NJ Spotlight, the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures say Christie could not declare bankruptcy for New Jersey because it is seen as a constitutional sovereign with taxing authority, and is not covered by bankruptcy laws. NewJerseyNewsroom.com
 
Tuesday round-up
...from Lisa Soronen at the blog of the National Conference of State Legislatures, who observes that the case “should be of more interest to first year law students than state legislators. SCOTUS Blog
 

Fate of Obama centerpiece rule might be in his successor's hands
"They really like the advantage they have in being able to create their own plans," said Melanie Condon, a policy associate for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "And maybe they won't be on board with what the EPA is telling them to do, but they would much rather be able to cater it to their state rather than have the federal government come in and take it over for them." Environment & Energy Publishing

Corbett, lawmakers strain to solve puzzle on pensions
Pennsylvania is by no means alone in its pension problems. The National Conference of State Legislatures tallied 10 states that enacted substantial pension reform in 2012 alone. They included Kansas, Louisiana and Virginia. Those states replaced defined-benefit plans, in which retirees receive a specified payment, with cash balance plans, in which the state promises to fund pension accounts of active employees to certain levels, or some hybrid plan. Sharon Herald

Editorial - Common Core, round 2
Yet the resistance to raising educational standards continues, here and around the country. The National Conference of State Legislatures says that as of mid-May, more than 340 bills related to Common Core or college and career readiness standards had been introduced in 46 states. Of those, 65 would slow or revoke implementation of new standards. For all the legislative huffing, however, most of the states that initiated Common Core have stuck with it, NCSL notes. Times Union

State patients waiting for pot-based seizure drug
Federal law prohibits the use or possession of cannibidiol, also known as CBD, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved it. Since January, though, eight states, including Wisconsin, have passed legislation allowing doctors to dispense the drugs under certain conditions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The U.S. Department of Justice has said it won’t challenge the laws if they’re followed. Green Bay Post Gazette

New legislative research head to be paid $125,000
Fry left last year after an outside appraisal commissioned by the board from reviewers for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Rapid City Journal

State lawmakers push bill requiring seat belts on school buses
Of the 1,351 people who have died in crashes involving school buses since 2002, nearly three-fourths were occupants of other vehicles, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Norwalk Reflector

Wisconsin patients still waiting for seizure drug
Federal law prohibits the use or possession of cannabidiol, an extract derived from marijuana that's also known as CBD. Parents of children suffering from seizures believe the drug could help alleviate their suffering. Federal officials haven't approved the drug's use, but eight states including Wisconsin have passed legislation allowing doctors to dispense the drugs under certain conditions since January, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. News Observer

California and feds at standoff over licenses
The REAL ID Act is the product of the post-9/11 era. It was created in 2005 to boost national security and establish standards for state-issued driver licenses and identification cards. It has not proved popular with many states, organizations and individuals who view it as a national identification card that will create red tape and needless expense, while impacting citizens' privacy. Only 21 states have met the standards and 21 more, including California, have applied for extensions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The remainder are not in compliance. InsuranceNews.Net

June 16

Unions push state legislatures for labor history courses
Various versions of labor history legislation have failed over the years in Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Legislation also failed calling for labor history and collective bargaining to be taught in Vermont. Associated Press/Fox News

Opposition to Common Core becoming cornerstone of many campaigns
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than 340 bills in nearly every state had been introduced by May 15 to modify, delay or outright revoke implementation of the Common Core curriculum standards. Common Core “really dominated the conversation, mood and ability of the legislatures to discuss other issues,” Michelle Exstrom, a conference education program director, told the Stateline news service. Washington Times

McCLUSKEY: Common Core, the worm in the teacher’s apple
Oklahoma is perhaps the biggest blow to the Core, as Republican Gov. Mary Fallin is the chairwoman of the National Governors Association, which created the Core along with the Council of Chief State School Officers. The dominoes are likely to keep falling, with both houses of the North Carolina General Assembly approving Core-dumping bills last week, and the National Conference of State Legislatures reporting that 64 bills to slow or stop the Core have been introduced in state legislatures this year. Washington Times

Chasing the heroin resurgence
At least 18 state legislatures addressed new heroin bills this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Subjects range from allowing easier access to drugs that counteract opiate/heroin overdoses for first responders and even the public, as well as leniency for low-level heroin offenders who agree to treatment. Some states also are debating legislation that would toughen sentences for major drug crimes and trafficking involving heroin. The News Star

Analysis: Amendment effort needs Democrats to be successful
The breakdown is similar in state Senates. Republicans control 28 chambers, Democrats have 20 and one is split. About 52 percent of senators are also Republicans, according to Ballotpedia. And in 23 states, Republicans control both chambers and the governor’s office, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Herald Times Online

Bill pushes seat belts on school buses
Of the 1,351 people who have died in crashes involving school buses since 2002, nearly three-fourths were occupants of other vehicles, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Columbus Dispatch

Governor signs bill pausing renewable-energy goals
Before Friday's signing, 29 states and the District of Columbia had adopted renewable portfolio standards, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press/South Carolina-The State

Tax reform targets nonprofits
A spokesman for the National Conference of State Legislatures notes, “States are looking for money. Collecting taxes that are already owed or eliminating exemptions in the existing tax code is much easier politically.But not in New York. Times Herald

Weidenbener: Amendment effort needs Democrat success
And in 23 states, Republicans control both chambers and the governor’s office, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Courier Journal

June 13

House committee to consider bill that grants immunity for reporting drug overdoses
Nineteen states grant some form of amnesty from drug charges for users who try to save others from overdoses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. PennLive

Surpluses and tax cuts for some states, deficits for others
“Recent tax law changes, not economic conditions, are the reason that collections (in North Carolina) are likely to miss the target” for the remainder of 2014, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) concluded in a May report. Redding.com

Governor signs bill pausing renewable-energy goals
Before Friday's signing, 29 states and the District of Columbia had adopted renewable portfolio standards, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. The Sacramento Bee

Budget season, campaign season collide in PA
As of 2011, 29 states restricted campaign contributions during legislative sessions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Fifteen of those states banned any contributions, and 14 prohibited lobbyist contributions during sessions. Watchdog.org

Common Core Sparks Flood of Legislation
The Common Core “really dominated the conversation, mood and the ability of the legislatures to discuss other issues,” said Michelle Exstrom, who focuses on education policy for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Stateline

States getting rid of teacher tenures, returning to annual contracts
“A good number of states have effectively done away with tenure through their new evaluation systems that include measurements of student achievement,” said Michelle Exstrom, education program director at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press/ Pharos-Tribune/CBS

Senate Judiciary Committee votes to abolish master lever by next year
Only 14 states, including Rhode Island, currently allow straight-party voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The practice is also referred to as the “master lever” option in a nod to physical levers that were once present on voting machines. Providence Journal

N.Y. Bishops Urge Cuomo to Enact Tax Credit Bill 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 27 states, including Washington D.C., provide some form of public assistance for parents eager to place their children in private schools. National Catholic Register

June 12

R.I. Senate panel votes to end straight-party voting, but not until 2015
Rhode Island is 1 of 14 states that offers the straight-party option, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Providence Journal

Chasing the heroin resurgence
At least 18 state legislatures addressed new heroin bills this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. USA Today

Michigan petition drive for part-time Legislature falls short but organizers look to 2016
Michigan lawmakers currently earn a base salary of $71,685 per year, and the state is one of four with a full-time Legislature. Another six states are near full-time, requiring lawmakers to work at least 80 percent of a full-time job, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. MichiganLive

Gov't sets wage increase for many of its workers
As of June 1, 22 states and the District of Columbia have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The San Luis Obispo Tribune

States protest FCC sports blackout rule
The National Conference of State Legislatures is warning the Federal Communications Commission not to eliminate its rule on sports blackouts. The regulation, which the FCC voted unanimously to consider dropping in December, prohibits games from being shown nationwide if they are blacked out at home due to low attendance and, according to the state group, makes it possible for millions of low-income fans to watch football every Sunday. Getting rid of the rule, the group warned in a letter on Wednesday “puts the local broadcast model at risk and may cause sports leagues to move sports programming from free, [over-the-air] broadcast to pay television. Such a change would be detrimental to many in our communities.” The Hill Tech Round-up

Some states roll back teacher tenure protections
"A good number of states have effectively done away with tenure through their new evaluation systems that include measurements of student achievement," said Michelle Exstrom, education program director at the National Conference of State Legislatures. The News Tribune

Illinois voters could register on Election Day
Ten states and the District of Columbia allow same-day voter registration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Several other Democratic-led states have approved plans expanding same-day registration or early voting. St Louis Post Dispatch

Local tanning operators say their policies ahead of new law
The law, signed last week by Gov. Jay Nixon, requires tanning businesses to receive in-person parental consent for anyone younger than 17 to use their beds. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 39 states and the District of Columbia now regulate indoor tanning for minors. Eight states, including neighboring Illinois, ban the use of ultraviolet tanning devices by anyone under 18. Joplin Globe

GOP’s healthy eating food stamp bill defeated
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, since the start of 2012, at least 13 states — including California, New Jersey and Illinois — have considered bills to restrict the purchase of certain foods under SNAP. Delaware Newszap

June 11

5 things you need to know about synthetic marijuana
There is no federal law banning synthetic marijuana, but as of November 2012, 45 states and Puerto Rico had laws banning the drug in at least one of its forms, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Elkhart Truth

Pa. lawmakers are second-highest paid in the nation, study finds
With a base salary of $84,012, Pennsylvania rank second in nation behind California ($90,256) as the best-paid General Assembly in this great land of ours, WHTM-TV in Harrisburg reports, citing data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. PennLive

Is It Time To Force Companies To Admit When They've Been Hacked?
According to Pam Greenberg at the National Conference of State Legislatures, Kentucky became the 47th state to pass a security breach law this year and 19 other states have also expanded or amended existing security breach legislation. Forbes

Features We Don't Need: Grocery Hooks
Across the nation, many cities and counties have imposed fees for plastic or paper bags you get from the store, and this year California, Massachusetts, Washington state and Puerto Rico have pending legislation that could ban single-use bags, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Chicago Tribune

Connecticut Law to Help Veterans Connect to Jobs, College Credit
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are twenty states that have passed laws to streamline access to college credit and certain occupational licenses. WNPR News

Keep guns off campus, say college presidents in a new study
In the United States, all 50 states have concealed carry weapons laws. Ohio is one of 21 states that ban carrying a concealed weapon on a college campus, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Cleveland.com

Extras on Excise: High-Octane Gas Tax Debates and Maneuvers Fuel Reforms
Since 2013, six states and the District of Columbia passed legislation to raise or change their gas taxes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg BNA

Lawmakers Defer to Voters on Tax, Budget Issues
Many legislatures have sent contentious issues to the voters this year. Nationwide, lawmakers in 36 states have put at least 86 measures on the November ballot, according to Ballotpedia, a non-profit organization that tracks ballot measures initiated by lawmakers as well as citizens. That number is on pace with earlier years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which reported a total of 115 ballot measures in 2012 and 112 in 2010. Stateline

Open data is open for business
Many state legislatures are working to set policies for releasing data. Since the start of 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, nine states have enacted open- data laws, and more legislation is pending. But California, for instance, has been posting open data for five years without legislation setting policies. McClatchy-Tribune/Associated Press

(NCSL info cited) Ties, tools, paternity leave: What fathers mean in the marketplace
Here’s a handy round-up of state laws regarding family and medical leave from the National Conference of State Legislatures; few states require it but you can check on pending bills. The Reynolds Business Center

June 10

Immigrants’ driver’s license protest about safety
Currently, 13 states allow undocumented immigrants to have a license, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The St. Petersburg Tribune

Mayor Ed Lee proposes $15 minimum wage in S.F. by 2018
Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maryland and Vermont are among other states that are racheting up their minimum wages, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and cities including New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Santa Fe, N.M., San Jose and San Diego have either boosted the rate significantly or are talking about doing so. San Francisco Business Times

Kentucky revenues to fall short for budget year
Kentucky is one of seven states that expected its revenues would fall short of budgeted projections on June 30, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported recently. The conference said nine states anticipated surpluses and the others expected revenues to come in very near the projected level. The Courier-Journal

Vermont To Raise Minimum Wage To $10.50
Seven U.S. states plus the District of Columbia have passed laws this year raising their minimum wages, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Connecticut, Hawaii and Maryland all plan to raise their minimums to $10.10 per hour, with the District adopting an $11.50 minimum in 2016. Reuters/Huffington Post

Some states push back against proposed EPA carbon rule
While the language of the resolutions and bills runs the gamut from tentative support to outright opposition to EPA's authority, a common refrain among them is the desire for state primacy in developing and implementing plans, said Melanie Condon, a policy associate for the National Conference of State Legislatures, which is tracking state reactions to the proposed EPA rule. "What we're hearing is that states want as much flexibility to address their implementation plans as possible," she said. "They know they have to comply with [Section] 111(d) [of the Clean Air Act], but they want to be able to take the lead." Environment and Energy Publishing

Maximum worry on minimum-wage hike
President Barack Obama has proposed raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10, up from $7.25, but, facing steep resistance, has encouraged governors to act. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 34 states are currently considering increases. Crain New York Business

State Lawmakers Tackle Public Health Issues
Connecticut, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin enacted such measures this year. New York approved a bill that awaits the governor’s signature, and California and New Jersey are still considering bills, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Stateline

N.C. Senate, House bills aim to end Common Core
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about 100 state bills to limit or end Common Core requirements have been introduced by Republican lawmakers across the U.S. in 2014. Port City Daily

Pa. legislature remains second-highest paid in the nation
According to the National Conference of State Legislators, Pennsylvania's lawmakers continue to have the second-highest average salary in the nation. Penn ABC 27

SD Alcohol Study Committee Meets For First Time
It will examine the three-tier system of alcohol sales that includes producers, wholesalers and retailers nationwide with a presentation from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press/KeloLand TV

June 9

Utah implements tighter distracted driving law, following example of new york
If you live in a state other than Utah or New York, you might also be interested to see the cellphone/handheld device driving laws for your particular state, shown at the National Conference of State Legislatures' site. Examiner.com

Vermont to raise minimum wage to $10.50, highest of any U.S. state
Seven U.S. states plus the District of Columbia have passed laws this year raising their minimum wages, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Connecticut, Hawaii and Maryland all plan to raise their minimums to $10.10 per hour, with the District adopting an $11.50 minimum in 2016. Chicago Tribune

Surpluses and Tax Cuts for Some States, Deficits for Others
“Recent tax law changes, not economic conditions, are the reason that collections (in North Carolina) are likely to miss the target” for the remainder of 2014, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) concluded in a May report. Stateline

Report: Economy fully recovered; but forever different
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 43 States experienced job growth in April. Illinois had the greatest number of jobs lost. The State lost almost 7,000 jobs in April. The Examiner

CSI Gears Up for New Guns on Campus Law
Idaho is the seventh state to allow concealed weapons on public college and university campuses, reports the National Conference of State Legislatures. The others are Colorado, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin. Times News

EDITORIAL: Pa. Legislature takes another swing at downsizing itself
A smaller legislature could provide adequate service, and the public is on board with almost anything that costs less. Lawmakers receive base salaries of $84,000, are eligible for per diems of $157, and get good health benefits and pensions. The 2,918-member support staff is the largest in the nation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Express Times

Ethics board looks at lawmakers’ free food
Nine other states have such a ban, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. The News Tribune

Candidates pushing for runoff turnout
Twenty-two states have some form of law that says there is no obligation to retreat from an attacker, and nine of them specifically say the person may "stand his or her ground," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Arkansas Online

City cyclists hope for safer passage
Lawmakers hope a new law will make it safer for people to ride their bicycles throughout the state. Last week, West Virginia joined 22 states and the District of Columbia with a 3-foot passing law for motorists who drive around cyclists, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. West Virginia Gazette

Our Opinion: Illinois lawmakers abandon their attempt at solidarity
Illinois legislators put in a lot of time for what technically is considered a part-time position. In 2009, the National Conference of State Legislatures identified Illinois as one of six states with legislatures that function more like full-time than part-time ones, in terms of how much work lawmakers do and other factors. State Journal Register

States consider expanding workers comp presumption law for public employees
At least seven of the 160 workers comp bills enacted in 2013 involved presumptive disability benefits for public employees, and at least three states passed mental health presumptions for first responders, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Other states added presumptions for certain types of cancer and infectious diseases, or extended coverage to volunteer and emergency services workers. BusinessInsurance.com

Alcala among 35 running unopposed for House seats
In the Kansas House, the compensation for doing so is about $26,700 per year, which is on the low end regionally. Oklahoma lawmakers earn about $38,400 per year, Missouri lawmakers make about $35,915 and Colorado lawmakers make about $30,000, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Members of Nebraska's unicameral Legislature make $12,000 a year. Topeka Capital Journal

McCrory squawks over ‘Squawks’
Pot is legal for recreational use in Colorado and Washington state. And a total of 22 states, plus the District of Columbia, have medical marijuana and cannabis programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Charlotte Observer

June 6

VELLNER: Climate change problems affecting us now, not later (Column)
A 10-year flood in Montco could cost $310 million in damage, according to a National Conference of State Legislatures report on climate change and the economy. But if precipitation increases 7 percent, the pricetag jumps to $375 million per event because the increased annual precipitation means greater flooding and damage, the report finds. Montgomery News

Reduce the size of the Legislature? Yes, please: Editorial
Only four states — Idaho, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Wyoming — have reduced the size of their General Assemblies since 1990, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. "When a change in the size of a Legislature is considered, debate typically centers around three major themes: representation, efficiency and cost," the organization's program principal, Brenda Erickson, told PennLive this week. PennLive

Don’t Ask, Don’t Entail: Watch out for new workplace data privacy laws
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that so far in 2014, workplace data privacy laws have been introduced or are pending in 28 states. Inside Counsel

States' open data is open for business
Many state legislatures are working to set policies for releasing data. Since the start of 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, nine states have enacted open- data laws, and more legislation is pending. But California, for instance, has been posting open data for five years without legislation setting policies. Stateline/USA Today

Downsizing state government popular topic in states but rarely happens
For example, only Idaho, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Wyoming have changed their Legislature's size since 1990, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. "When a change in the size of a Legislature is considered, debate typically centers around three major themes: representation, efficiency and cost," said the organization's program principal Brenda Erickson. The Patriot News

New tanning bed law pleases parents
The move makes Missouri one of the most recent states to adopt some kind of tanning bed restriction for minors. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 39 states and the District of Columbia have restrictions either on the books or pending. Eight states bar anyone under 18 from using tanning beds at all. KRCG

Official wants closed primaries
Eleven states, including Alabama, have open primaries and another 11 have closed primaries, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures. The others state fall somewhere between closed and open primaries. Times Daily

Legislator Pay: Too Much or Too Little?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only California, Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan have higher base salaries. But other states are way, way lower, like New Hampshire, where a two-year term will net you a cool $200. WUIS-Illinois Public Broadcasting

Columnist - Yo, lawmakers, you have a chance to make some change
In the case of gifts, 40 other states have either total bans or limits on what lawmakers can accept, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Pennsylvania (of course) has no ban, no limits. Philadelphia Daily News

June 5

North Carolina moves to repeal Common Core
About 100 bills to slow, stop or reverse Common Core requirements were introduced in state legislatures across the country this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, an 85 percent increase over the year before. The Washington Post/GovBeat

Are Domestic Partnerships A Way For Heterosexual Couples To Avoid The Marriage Tax Penalty?
A number of states have long had domestic partnership laws that covered couples in common-law marriages. But the relatively new statutes that expanded alternatives to traditional marriage made the option much more attractive—and probably more acceptable in some social circles. In March, the National Conference of State Legislatures did a nice job summarizing the status of those state laws. Forbes and Christian Science Monitor

Capitol Report: June 5, 2014: Reports from the 51st District DEAN DOHRMAN
For two years I have had the honor of serving on the Military and Veterans Affairs Task Force of the National Conference of State Legislatures. This is a very important group that works to further the mission of national defense and provide for our active and retired military in a variety of ways. The Task Force meets periodically to discuss issues, legislation, and gain knowledge from a mutual exchange of ideas. The Marshall Democrat-News

Big Brother: Meet the Parents
Moms and dads from across the political spectrum have mobilized into an unexpected political force in recent months to fight the data mining of their children. In a frenzy of activity, they’ve catapulted student privacy — an issue that was barely on anyone’s radar last spring — to prominence in statehouses from New York to Florida to Wyoming. All told, at least 105 student privacy bills were introduced this year in 35 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Politico

Open Data Is Open for Business
Many state legislatures are working to set policies for releasing data. Since the start of 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, nine states have enacted open- data laws, and more legislation is pending. But California, for instance, has been posting open data for five years without legislation setting policies. Stateline

Genetically modified foods still confuse consumers
The state efforts aren't slowing down. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are 85 pending GMO labeling bills in 29 states. SouthCoastToday.com

June 4

5 things to know about voter ID laws after Tuesday's primary elections
HOW MANY STATES HAVE SOME FORM OF THE LAW? Thirty-four states have passed laws requiring some sort of identification from voters, but only 31 of them are in effect, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Courts have struck down voter ID laws in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and a law passed in North Carolina won't take effect until 2016. AP/US News & World Report

Wis. stabbing at odds with girls' upbringing, neighbors say
Wisconsin is one of 29 states in which juveniles of a certain age are automatically charged as adults, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. CBS News

Glenn retires after 10 years in Okla. House
After 10 years in the Oklahoma House of Representatives Larry Glenn is calling it quits. He was Miami Police and Fire Commissioner for four years, Miami Oklahoma Finance Commissioner for two years the Ottawa County Undersheriff for five years and served on the National Conference of State Legislatures Standing Committee on Environment from 2013 to 2014. Miami News-Record

Two political leaders to receive law school's Jaqua Award
The University of Oregon School of Law will honor former Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers and Wisconsin Sen. Fred Risser with the school's John E. Jaqua Distinguished Alumnus Award. Risser also is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and was honored by the National Conference of State Legislatures as one of six World War II veterans currently serving in state legislatures. AroundtheO

Alabama Ethics Commission director Jim Sumner to retire
Sumner for years presided over an Ethics Commission that, according to a 2009 survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures, was among the weakest in the nation. Until the Republican takeover of the Legislature in 2010, the Ethics Commission lacked both a guaranteed budget and subpoena power. Sumner highlighted those gains in his retirement letter, as well as mandated training on ethical issues for lawmakers and caps on certain spending by lobbyists. Montgomery Advertiser

Brawley seeks big pay boost for legislators
A bill filed last week by N.C. Rep. Robert Brawley of Mooresville that would more than double the pay of most North Carolina legislators is likely to languish in the House this session, but backers say raising lawmaker’ salaries would ensure the General Assembly reflects the diversity of the state. The National Conference of State Legislatures considers North Carolina a blend between a part- and a full-time legislature. Mooresville Tribune

Will Other Localities Follow Seattle's Lead in Raising the Minimum Wage?
So far in 2014, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, West Virginia and the District of Columbia have voted to raise their minimum wages, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. US News & World Report

Seattle approves hike in minimum wage to $15 per hour
Proposals to raise the minimum wage have been considered in nearly three dozen states in 2014, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters/Chicago Tribune

June 3

Lawmakers: Rules Aimed at Woodstoves Hurt Low-Income Earners
Michigan isn't the only state that's fighting the EPA over the woodstove issue, though other states haven't taken so bold a step as Casperson's bill. Scott Hendrick, program director for the Environment & Natural Resources division for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said Missouri lawmakers introduced a legislative measure to counter the EPA's woodstove regulations, and so has Alaska. But neither measure carries much force. "They're resolutions," he said. "So they wouldn't change the substance of law. And the resolution in Alaska generally condemns remarks of Gina McCarthy that she made in a preamble that mentions the woodstove regulations." newsmax.com

Unions, lawmakers ask for minimum wage raise
Seven states and the District of Columbia have increased their minimum wage so far this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, bringing the total number of states with wages above the federal minimum to 22. pennlive.com

SC puts brakes on texting while driving
South Carolina is just one of three states now with no limits on texting while driving, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The State

Attorney: Girl in stabbing deserves juvenile court
Wisconsin is one of 29 states in which juveniles of a certain age are automatically charged as adults, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/Sioux City Journal

Open College Aid To Undocumented Students (op-ed)
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Connecticut is one of only 18 states that offer in-state resident tuition to undocumented students who enroll in a public college or university. The Hartford Courant

OUR VIEW: Redistricting map in the dock
Cases in North Carolina and Virginia also are alleging racial bias in redistricting plans, and according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 26 redistricting lawsuits are in progress in eight states. The Gadsden Times

Blocking welfare dollars for cigarettes, strip clubs: Law & Order or Nanny State? (opinion)
In fact, at least 10 states passed such laws between 2000 and 2012, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Then, in 2012, the federal government decided to step in and make such requirements permanent, banning sales of tobacco, alcohol, strip club services, and casino usage via public assistance. Some states have blocked the money being used for tattoos, as well. Philadelphia Weekly

If challenge succeeds: New map, maybe not new elections
Morgan Cullen, a policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures in Colorado, said the courts would strike down maps if they were convinced there was evidence of racial packing. "If they're diluting African-American voting strength, and limiting their opportunity for equal representation, the map will be struck down," he said. Montgomery Advertiser

Moffitt’s media: An in-depth look at the state legislator’s political publishing company
Peggy Kerns, director of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Center for Ethics in Government, a Denver, Colo.-based nonprofit, said that though she tracks legislators’ business activities around the country, she’s never heard of an arrangement quite like the one Moffitt has put together with InTouchNC. Lawmakers are increasingly engaging in social media, she said, but this is the only case she’s aware of wherein a state legislator runs a company that handles online operations for colleagues. Carolina Public Press

Supreme Court rejects reporter's bid to protect source
Overall, the National Conference of State Legislatures says there are currently 26 active redistricting lawsuits in eight states. Associated Press/Houston Chronicle

June 2

Supreme Court will hear challenge to Alabama's new legislative districts
Overall, the National Conference of State Legislatures says there are currently 26 active redistricting lawsuits in eight states. AP/Minneapolis Star Tribune

South Carolina considering texting-and-driving ban
In fact, the Palmetto State, along with Montana, is one of just two states with no cell-use-while-driving restrictions, such as restrictions on teen-age drivers or hand-held devices. (37 states ban cell use by novice or teen drivers; 12 ban hand-held cell phone use, according to a state-by-state breakdown by the National Conference of State Legislatures.) The Legal Examiner

Five questions about candidate-selection conventions
According to data collected by the Council on State Governments and the National Conference of State Legislatures, Iowa is one of 11 states that include a convention in their process for nominating some or all state and federal offices. The Des Moines Register

NRA blasts Open Carry Texas after San Antonio incidents Texas is one of less than 10 states that specifically block open carry of handguns, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/mysanantonio.com

Legislators interview executive director finalists
The Legislature’s Executive Board meets today and Tuesday (June 3) and will conduct a series of interviews with applicants for executive director of the Legislative Research Council. The LRC serves as the professional staff for the 105 senators and representatives. The goal is to hire a permanent successor to Jim Fry, who resigned in September. Fry quit the same day the Executive Board received the performance review and analysis of the LRC. The Executive Board paid the National Conference of State Legislatures for the work. Rapid City Journal

Illinois joins debate over child custody disputes
It's a debate that is happening nationwide, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Illinois is one of seven states to grapple with legislation about how best to ensure that both parents have a continuing relationship with their kids after a divorce. Chicago Tribune

Patton announces bid for re-election
Rep. John Patton, R-Sheridan, announced last week that he filed for re-election to continue representing House District 29 in the Wyoming Legislature. Patton also serves as co- chairman for the Legislative Effectiveness Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures and has been published in NCSL publications twice. As part of that committee, Patton strives to strengthen legislatures while making them more transparent for their own good and the good of the public. The Sheridan Press

NKY Senate race could be one of the most competitive
Lawyers make up the bulk of legislators, with 11 (29 percent) in the Senate. Nationwide, teachers made up 3.9 percent percent of state legislators in 2007, according to the most recent statistics from the National Conference of State Legislators. Attorneys accounted for 15.2 percent nationally. Cincinnati Enquirer 

Some Republican state legislators would like to see lawmaking bodies shrink
Pennsylvania has the second highest-paid legislators in the country, with annual salaries starting at $84,000, with per diems at $157 for each day the legislator is in session, according to the latest numbers from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Times Leader

GOP reps balk over medical marijuana
In addition to the 22 states and the District of Columbia with comprehensive public medical marijuana programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, seven states have laws allowing access to a form high in cannabidiol, or CBD, and low in THC, which produces a condition of euphoria. The laws in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin limit the treatment to seizure disorders and related illnesses, while Florida also allows access for patients with cancer or other medical conditions, according to NCSL. Kentucky's law does not specify a medical condition. Post Gazette

Hemp bill could create research opportunities
Twelve states, including Maine, Kentucky and West Virginia, currently have laws that allow hemp production, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nine of those states have programs to promote the growth and marketing of industrial hemp. Delaware NewsZap

Colorado passes ridesharing legislation
But Colorado's attempt at regulation is the first to come out of a state legislature, according to research from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reno Gazette Journal

Pa. Lawmakers Second-Highest Paid in U.S.
The base lawmaker's salary in the Keystone State is $84,012 per year, the National Conference of State Legislatures says. UpperMoreland-Patch