NCSL in the News | June 2016

6/1/2016

June 30

States and cities cautiously raise minimum wage
PBS NewsHour
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 14 states began 2016 with higher minimum wages than the year before. Of those, 12 states increased their rates through legislation passed in the 2014 or 2015 sessions and two others automatically increased their rates based on the cost of living. At least 29 states, plus D.C., now have minimum wages above the federal level, according to NCSL.
 
Hawaii bucks trend with likely veto of Airbnb tax bill
Associated Press/Washington Times
While states have debated the right way to regulate private vacation rentals, The National Conference of State Legislatures isn’t aware of any other governor vetoing legislation on short-term occupancy, said Max Behlke, manager of state federal relations.
 
A pregnant teen went missing four years ago. Her boyfriend was just charged with murder
Washington Post
At least 37 other states have fetal homicide laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Colorado introduced a similar bill last year after a woman was accused of cutting into another woman’s womb and removing her baby — killing the baby and severely wounding the soon-to-be mother.
 
Illinois Lawmakers Get Pressured to Find Budget Fix
Wall Street Journal
The stalemate has made Illinois the first state since the Great Depression to go a full year without a budget, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Arizona governor fires state's contract lobbyists
azcentral.com
Use of contract lobbyists varies state by state. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Utah bans agencies from using public money to pay contract lobbyists. Louisiana prohibits a state government entity or an employee from using state funds to lobby “any matter being considered by the legislature.” “In practice this also includes a ban on contract lobbyists, though the law is not specific,” according to the NCSL. However, state employees are allowed to provide factual information. In Virginia, officers, boards, institutions or agencies are prohibited from “employing lobbying for compensation,” the NCSL website said.
 
Here's the Minnesota referendum you haven't heard about
Minnesota Public Radio News
Rank-and-file Minnesota legislators rank 19th in base pay among the 39 states that provide an annual salary, according to a survey this year by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
State puts politics and pensions above people
SaukValley.com
No state has gone without a budget for a full year since at least the 1930s, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Threatened Veto Baffles Social-Media Bill Advocates
Honolulu Civil Beat
Twenty-three states and Guam have laws that prohibit employers from accessing personal social-media accounts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some employers say that access to social-media accounts is necessary to protect the employer or their private information, according to NCSL.

June 29

States' New Opioid Limits Being Met With Some Resistance
Huffington Post
Sixteen states expanded the use of naloxone, an overdose antidote drug few lawmakers had heard of just a year ago. And at least nine states adopted requirements that Medicaid and other insurers pay for all medically recommended addiction services, just as they would for other diseases, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

A multibillion-dollar budget crisis in the US no one is talking about
CNBC
The National Conference of State Legislatures says nearly a dozen states still had not enacted budgets for the new fiscal year as of mid-June. Some — including oil states Louisiana and Alaska — are facing a full-blown budget crisis. Even after painful cuts, budget gaps in those two states alone total nearly $4 billion.
 
Could Smartphones Make You A Smarter Driver?
Huffington Post
According to the National Conference of State Legislators, while Indiana is not one of 14 states that prohibit handheld devices behind the wheel, there are laws prohibiting drivers from texting and driving, as well as laws limiting the use of handheld devices for drivers under the age of 18.
 
(NCSL Cited) Californians to vote on whether to legalize recreational marijuana
KVIA El Paso
Pennsylvania recently became the 24th U.S. state to legalize medical marijuana. Take a look at which states currently allow marijuana for recreational and/or medicinal purposes, compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Drowsy driving and car crashes: How night-shift work contributes to traffic dangers
Journalist's Resource
Policymakers have tried to discourage drowsy driving by bringing attention to the issue and, in some cases, making it a crime. In New Jersey, for example, a driver who has been without sleep for more than 24 hours is considered to be driving recklessly and can face criminal penalties. The National Conference of State Legislatures tracks legislation related to drowsy driving in each state. Other organizations also are working to keep fatigued drivers off the road.

Fact Check: Gov. Doug Ducey half right on ballot-collection laws
azcentral.com
The National Conference of State Legislatures compiled similar data on ballot collecting restrictions. The group's report only found 14 states with rules and regulations on the collection and delivery of mail-in absentee ballots. The report includes five states not included in the Arizona Secretary of State’s reports: Minnesota, South Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
 
City Club of Chicago: Illinois School Funding Formula: Is It Fair?
WGN Radio
McConnaughay’s ongoing commitment to the community has included volunteer work for the Delnor Hospital Auxiliary and service on the Fox River Chapter of the Board of the American Red Cross. She also currently serves on the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Executive Committee.

June 28

3 Answers for Parents About Sexual Consent Lessons in High School
U.S. News & World Report
Last year, California approved legislation that would make it the first state in the country to require many high schoolers to learn about sexual consent, The Associated Press reported. A handful of states have considered similar legislation recently, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Haslam pushes for internet sales tax collection
Nashville Post
Tennessee revenue officials estimate a loss of $300 million to $450 million in sales tax collections annually. The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates states collectively lost out on $23.3 billion in 2012. 
 
Minnesota Senate Explores Data Disclosure Upgrades
Government Technology
Cerling said the Senate would reach out to the National Conference of State Legislatures for help making upgrades but noted that the Senate Rules Committee would have to approve any changes before they could be implemented.
 
Ricketts showered with gifts during first year as Nebraska governor
Sioux City Journal
South Dakota has no restrictions, and Wyoming prohibits gifts over $250, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
NC lawmakers consider deregulating
Fayetteville Observer
As of January, 36 states have CON laws, says a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nationally, the laws date to the 1960s and 1970s, the National Conference of State Legislatures says. CON laws are "based on the theory that controlling the supply of facilities, equipment and services is the best method to restrain rising health care costs," says a 2012 report by Health Capital Consultants of St. Louis.
 
As Congress Remains Deadlocked on Guns, Action on State Laws Heats Up
Bay Net
The non-partisan National Conference of State Legislature found that state lawmakers enacted nearly 70 gun-related measures in 2014 alone.

June 27

Illinois Lawmakers Face Tight Deadline, Big Hurdle to Pass Budget
Wall Street Journal
No state has gone without a budget for over a year since Rhode Island during the Great Depression, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Trump and the CIA (Christians in Action)
Washington Post
The overall U.S. population appears to be reflected in the religions of state legislators, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures: Protestants and Catholics predominate, with “unaffiliated” people represented in large numbers, too.

As Congress Remains Deadlocked on Guns, Action on State Laws Heats Up
NBCNews.com
The non-partisan National Conference of State Legislature found that state lawmakers enacted nearly 70 gun-related measures in 2014 alone.
 
Ricketts showered with gifts during first year in office
Washington Times
Neighboring Kansas imposes a $40-a-year limit on gifts from special interests, while Iowa bans all such gifts to public employees, officials and their families. South Dakota has no restrictions, and Wyoming prohibits gifts over $250, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
As state dips into savings to cover falling revenues, candidates debate rainy-day fund level
Montana Standard
The National Conference of State Legislatures had for decades recommended savings be 5 percent of spending but doubled that recommendation following the 2009 recession. Montana has regularly exceeded those baseline recommendations.
 
Certificate of need laws: Should NC quit rationing health care?
Fayetteville Observer
As of January, 36 states have CON laws, says a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures Nationally, the laws date to the 1960s and 1970s, the National Conference of State Legislatures says. CON laws are "based on the theory that controlling the supply of facilities, equipment and services is the best method to restrain rising health care costs," says a 2012 report by Health Capital Consultants of St. Louis.
 
Can redistricting reform close the minority gap in capitols?
Columbia Daily Tribune
It’s also a maneuver that can result in an underrepresentation of minorities in some legislatures. Across the United States, minorities comprise nearly two-fifths of the population, yet hold less than one-fifth of all legislative seats, according to an Associated Press analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Congress and the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Hailey weighing cellphone with driving ban
Twin Falls Times-News
Fourteen states have laws banning talking on a handheld cellphone while driving, and 46 states, including Idaho, have bans on texting while driving, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Haslam moves to require online retailers collect TN sales tax
Humphrey on the Hill
If Tennessee is successful, Donnals added, “we would also look at reductions on the sales tax on food to be as cost neutral as possible.” …Tennessee revenue officials estimate a loss of $300 million to $450 million in sales tax collections annually. The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates states collectively lost out on $23.3 billion in 2012. “Tennessee is a sales tax-driven state, and we have to be fair to our local businesses,” state Revenue Commissioner Richard Roberts said by email.

State's cash reserves become political hot potato in election year
Billings Gazette
The National Conference of State Legislatures had for decades recommended savings be 5 percent of spending, but doubled it following the 2009 recession. Montana has regularly exceeded those baseline recommendations.
  
Property owners await redevelopment decision
The Mountain Press
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 42 states have "enacted legislation or passed ballot measures during 2005-2011 in response to the Kelo decision....The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 23, 2005, in Kelo v. New London (545 U.S. 469) that the 'public use' provision of the 'takings clause' of the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution permits the use of eminent domain for economic development purposes that provide a public benefit."
 
PolitiFact: How do U.S. voter ID laws stack up against the world?
MyStatesman.com
As of 2016, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures, lawmakers in 34 states had enacted measures requiring voters to present some form of identification at the polls; the group classed Texas and Indiana among nine states with strict photo ID mandates.

Louisiana State University, Southern University want to grow medical marijuana
WDSU New Orleans
Pennsylvania recently became the 24th U.S. state to legalize medical marijuana. Take a look at which states currently allow marijuana for recreational and/or medicinal purposes, compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 24

Supreme Court upholds University of Texas affirmative action plan
CNN
Eight states currently have banned the use of race in admissions policies all together according to the National Conference of State Legislatures: Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Washington.
 
In Illinois, pensions trump people
Chicago Tribune
No state has gone without a budget for a full year since at least the 1930s, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Lawmakers approve $15 minimum wage Christie vows to veto
Philly.com
Two states have similar laws on the books, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California in April passed a law that will require all employers to pay a minimum of $15 an hour by 2023. New York state is also phasing in an increase to $15 for workers in New York City, where the wage floor is currently $9 an hour. That will take effect in 2018.
 
NAIC Cybersecurity Task Force Weighs Credit Freezes
JD Supra
The National Conference of State Legislatures notes that 22 states allow “parents, legal guardians or other representatives of minors to place a security freeze on the minor’s credit report: Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.” 

Who Is Abigail Fisher? 20 Facts About Affirmative Action, Diversity At US Collleges Amid Supreme Court Ruling
International Business Times
Nine states ban the use of race in admissions: Oklahoma, New Hampshire, Arizona, Nebraska, Washington, California, Florida, Texas and Michigan, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Florida Doctors Need to be Able to Ask Patients About Gun Ownership
News Talk Florida
Here is the key point that goes directly to my argument Florida is the only state that has enacted such a law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
US Drone Laws Liberalized: Higher Commercial Use to Generate $82 Billion
FX News Call
Many states have banned drones flying over private property, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Michigan drug testing welfare recipients
Fusion
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), as of March 28, 2016, at least 17 states had proposals in 2016 to address substance abuse and drug testing in welfare programs.

June 23

Trump's Clinton Critique Combines Evidence With Exaggerations
Bloomberg
In 2015, the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement had a budget of $1.56 billion, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. But a significant chunk of that money was used to resettle unaccompanied children who crossed the Mexican border.
 
Revamping Community Colleges to Improve Graduation Rates
New York Times
Still, money can be one major reason community college students drop out. Bills are pending in congressional committees to carry out President Obama’s America’s College Promise proposal to make community colleges free to responsible high school graduates. While that legislation will be a tough sell, Kentucky, Minnesota, Oregon and Tennessee already mandate free or near-free community college tuition to eligible high school graduates; 11 other states have similar bills pending, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
US Drone Laws Liberalized: Higher Commercial Use to Generate $82 Billion
FX News Call
Many states have banned drones flying over private property, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Summary of recent North Carolina newspaper editorials
Daily Journal
Laws authorizing such programs are one mechanism by which 36 state governments currently seek to reduce overall health and medical costs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
DIVIDED AMERICA: Minorities missing in many legislatures
Wisconsin Gazette
The Associated Press analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Congress and the National Conference of State Legislatures to determine the extent to which the nation’s thousands of lawmakers match the demographics of its hundreds of millions of residents.
 
Funding Threatened for Cities Ignoring State Immigration Law
TWC News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Congress has introduced similar legislation that would terminate federal funding for states and localities that restrict communication with the Immigration and Naturalization Service or other government entity regarding an individual's citizenship or immigration status.
 
U.S. expects to generate $82 billion, 100000 jobs through new FAA guidelines on drones
Big News Network.com
About 30 states have drone laws, such as barring drone flight over private property, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
One Number Shows the Hypocrisy of Drug Testing People on Welfare
ATTN
There are 15 states that passed laws to drug test or screen welfare recipients, according to the National Conference for State Legislatures. By March, 17 other states had proposed a law at some point. Some of the laws require all applicants to be drug tested and others only test people who have given suspicion.
 
Certificate of Need law vital for regional health care
Greenville Daily Reflector
Laws authorizing such programs are one mechanism by which 36 state governments currently seek to reduce overall health and medical costs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
  
Court mulls Florida law limiting docs' talk with patients about guns
St. Augustine Record
The main problem is that the effectively stops many doctors from asking relevant questions about guns because they fear a patient will take offense and file a complaint with the Florida Board of Medicine, Hallward-Driemeier said. The law also violates doctors’ First Amendment right to free speech by targeting speech on a specific topic, Hallward-Driemeier argued. Florida is the only state that has enacted such a law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Outlaw Powdered Alcohol for Kids’ Sake, AMA Says
Medscape
However, plans to market Palcohol have encountered a stone wall of pre-emptive resistance on the state level. Thirty-two states have banned powdered alcohol, all but two of them since 2014, and lawmakers in other states are considering such a move, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Rezin receives award recognizing women in politics
The Times
State Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, is one of the first winners of the Women in Politics Making a Difference Award presented by the Women's Legislative Network of the National Conference of State Legislatures.The Women’s Legislative Network is an organization dedicated to promoting the participation, empowerment and leadership of women legislators. There are 1,809 women serving in state legislatures across the country. Every female legislator is a member of the network by virtue of her service, and the organization is governed by a bipartisan, regionally-balanced board of 15 directors.

June 22

FAA completes landmark rules for commercial drones
USA TODAY
While the FAA rule-making process lagged, states adopted dozens of local laws that restrict drones, such as prohibiting drones with weapons and barring flights over private property. At least 31 states have adopted laws governing drones, with 18 requiring search warrants for police to use drones for surveillance, 13 adopting criminal penalties for misusing drones and 12 creating privacy protections, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

FAA completes landmark rules for commercial drones
Knoxville News Sentinel
At least 29 states have adopted laws governing drones and 41 states have debated legislation this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Small, commercial drones allowed to fly under new FAA guidelines
Mirage News
About 30 states have drone laws, such as barring drone flight over private property, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Court Mulls Law Limiting Docs' Talk With Patients About Guns
ABC News
Florida is the only state that has enacted such a law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Funding threatened for cities ignoring state immigration law
Washington Times
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Congress has introduced similar legislation that would terminate federal funding for states and localities that restrict communication with the Immigration and Naturalization Service or other government entity regarding an individual’s citizenship or immigration status.

Pa. lawmakers push anti-discrimination measures
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Twenty-two states currently forbid discrimination in public accommodations based on sexual orientation, and 18 prohibit discrimination based on gender identity, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Special session commences
Emporia Gazette
Last week, I attended the National Conference of State Legislatures Leadership Briefing in Washington, D.C. Sponsored by the National Conference of Legislators; this was an excellent opportunity to join bipartisan legislative leaders from across the United States to discuss challenges facing our states.

For-Profit Colleges Supported By Ellen DeGeneres, John McCain ...
International Business Times
About 12 percent of all American college students pursue their higher education at for-profit institutions like the University of Phoenix or ITT Technical Institute, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
With Orlando in mind, Pa. lawmakers push new antidiscrimination bills
Philly.com
Twenty-two states forbid discrimination in public accommodations based on sexual orientation, and 18 prohibit discrimination based on gender identity, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 21

New Jersey’s Highway Woes Seen Dealing Blow to Christie Legacy
Bloomberg 
Other states have acted to boost their transportation needs. Eight have passed bills to increase their gas taxes last year and two states altered the taxes to limit decreasing collections, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Barack Obama, in Austin, says U.S. only 'advanced democracy' that makes voting harder
PolitiFact
As of 2016, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures, lawmakers in 34 states had enacted measures requiring voters to present some form of identification at the polls; the group classed Texas and Indiana among nine states with strict photo ID mandates.
 
Homeless Students Need Educational Supports Beyond Financial Aid, Experts Respond to GAO Report
GoodCall News 
Data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures states that numbers are rising, that most homeless youth are female, and that a large number are pregnant. And 75% of homeless or runaway youth have already dropped out of high school or soon will.
 
The right to gripe: States seek to protect negative online reviews
Defiance Crescent News
It’s a new issue, said Pam Greenberg, a researcher at the National Conference of State Legislatures, and “legislators are hearing more and more from constituents about these problems.” More gag clause measures are likely to be introduced in state legislatures in the years to come, she said.
 
Momentum builds to reduce politics in redistricting
San Angelo Standard Times
Across the U.S., minorities now comprise nearly two-fifths of the population, yet hold less than one-fifth of all legislative seats, according to an Associated Press analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Congress and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Gains in diversity slow in Massachusetts politics
MetroWest Daily News
The situation is reflective of the nation as a whole, where minorities comprise a growing share of the U.S. population but remain underrepresented in Congress and most statehouses, according to an Associated Press analysis of demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Congress and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 20

Why One Democratic Congresswoman Wants To Drug-Test The Rich
NPR
At least 15 states had passed laws linking public assistance and drug screening as of March, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and 17 states had additional proposed measures on the topic.
 
Data show minorities missing in state Legislature, Congress
Chicago Tribune
In the state Legislature, 14 percent of members are Hispanic and 10 percent are African-American, according to the AP analysis taken partly from a 2015 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. That report said 6 percent of Nevada lawmakers are multiracial and 70 percent are white.
 
Minnesota is in the hemp business again
Minneapolis Star Tribune
In 2014, the federal farm bill allowed universities and state agriculture departments to cultivate it. Today, 28 states cultivate or are studying industrial hemp, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

The right to gripe: States seek to protect negative online reviews
WatertownDailyTimes.com
It’s a new issue, said Pam Greenberg, a researcher at the National Conference of State Legislatures, and “legislators are hearing more and more from constituents about these problems.” More gag clause measures are likely to be introduced in state legislatures in the years to come, she said.
 
Royalton Library Abuzz With Drones
Valley News
In 2015, 20 states adopted legislation related to drones, at least half of which address law enforcement and privacy issues, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
State's tab defending voter ID at $3.5M
Amarillo.com
Under the law, Texas became one of nine states requiring “strict photo ID,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the Lone Star State’s seven-item list of acceptable forms of identification is the narrowest.
 
State's tab defending voter ID $3.5 million so far
KEYE TV
Under the law, Texas became one of nine states requiring "strict photo ID," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the Lone Star State's seven-item list of acceptable forms of identification is the narrowest.

State columnist: One of these things just doesn't belong
Asheville Citizen-Times
Yes, 19 states guarantee the right to hunt and fish in their constitutions, with 17 of those approved by voters, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Vermont’s language dates back to 1777, but the rest have passed since 1996. (I’m guessing the sponsors in those states were up for re-election, too.)

In US states, it's most often a white House (and Senate)
MyNorthwest.com
Yes, 19 states guarantee the right to hunt and fish in their constitutions, with 17 of those approved by voters, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Vermont’s language dates back to 1777, but the rest have passed since 1996. (I’m guessing the sponsors in those states were up for re-election, too.)
 
Lawmakers kill bill on voluntary pay reduction
Pacific Daily News
Guam lawmakers are among the highest-paid state-level legislators in the nation, third only behind California and Pennsylvania, according to numbers from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
A look at the redistricting process in every state
Waterbury Republican American
Sources: National Conference of State Legislatures, "All About Redistricting"
 
pay attention!
Barbados Advocate
He was at the time referring to the four risk factors that have been identified by the National Conference of State Legislatures in the United States, which are said to increase the likelihood that youth would engage in delinquent behaviours, among which peer groups have been listed.  

June 17

Boost Minimum Wage and Babies Benefit: Study
Philly.com
Right now, 29 states and Washington, D.C., have minimum wages above the federal standard, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The Right to Gripe: States Seek to Protect Negative Online Reviews
Government Technology
It’s a new issue, said Pam Greenberg, a researcher at the National Conference of State Legislatures, and “legislators are hearing more and more from constituents about these problems.” More gag clause measures are likely to be introduced in state legislatures in the years to come, she said.

School lead testing: The race for tighter regulations and more funding
Politico
So far, since the lead controversy erupted in Flint, Michigan, 40 bills related to lead contamination in schools have been introduced in 13 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Four have already been enacted.

Race, ethnicity of Utah officials somewhat track population
Cache Valley Daily
Utah's population is about 79 percent white, and about 90 percent of the state's 104 lawmakers are white, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and National Conference of State Legislatures.

Senator warns law change will endanger rural hospitals; proponent says it will help
Fayetteville Observer
In North Carolina, anyone who wants to offer a service on the list must first obtain a state-issued document called a certificate of need - certification that there is need for the service in a community. Thirty-six states use certificates of need, says a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Analysis: New Mexico statehouse is nation's most Hispanic
Las Cruces Sun-News
The AP analyzed the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Congress and the National Conference of State Legislatures. It found non-Hispanic whites hold more than 80 percent of all congressional and state legislative seats across the country. Whites make up a little over 60 percent of the total U.S. population.

Under Construction - June 2016
JD Supra
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 26 states have enacted laws addressing drone issues and an additional six states have adopted resolutions. 

Can redistricting reform close the minority gap in capitols?
CT Post
Across the U.S, minorities now comprise nearly two-fifths of the population, yet hold less than one-fifth of all legislative seats, according to an Associated Press analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Congress and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

iNACOL to Host Personalized Learning State Policy Webinar
T.H.E. Journal
"In this webinar, co-hosted by iNACOL and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the presenters will discuss policy opportunities and specific state examples that other states can look to in crafting their own legislation," according to a news release. "The webinar will highlight the different entry points for states, with policies for getting started and launching initiatives, moving forward with specific policies to support personalized learning or taking a comprehensive policy approach."

UT Police Chief: Employees should know their responsibilities before going armed on campus
Knoxville News Sentinel
The statute establishes Tennessee as one of 10 states with some provision allowing concealed weapons on public college campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Sins of omission
The Capitol Fax
The AP analyzed the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Congress and the National Conference of State Legislatures to determine the extent to which the nation’s thousands of lawmakers match the demographics of its hundreds of millions of residents. 

Gains in diversity slow in Massachusetts politics
The Sun Chronicle
The situation is reflective of the nation as a whole, where minorities comprise a growing share of the U.S. population but remain underrepresented in Congress and most statehouses, according to an Associated Press analysis of demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Congress and the National Conference of State Legislatures.  

Report: Minorities underrepresented in Tennessee legislature, none for Hispanics, Asians
WZTV
Nationally, the AP used U.S. Census Bureau and National Conference Legislatures data to find non-Hispanic whites account for just over 60% of the population but hold 80% of all congressional and state legislative seats.

NC Child Welfare System Failing Children, Families, Reports Say
North Carolina Health News
According to a document prepared by the National Conference of State Legislatures, the CFSR is “designed to help States improve safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes for children and families who receive services through state child welfare systems,” with a focus on continual improvement.

Utah ranks 35th for white overrepresentation among lawmakers
Salt Lake Tribune
Utah's population is about 79 percent white, and about 90 percent of the state's 104 lawmakers are white, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and National Conference of State Legislatures.

Blacks well represented in New Jersey, but fight continues
MyCentralJersey.com
The Associated Press analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Congress and the National Conference of State Legislatures to determine the extent to which the nation’s thousands of lawmakers match the demographics of residents. The result: Whites make up a little more than 60 percent of the U.S. population but hold more than 80 percent of congressional and state legislative seats.

Connecticut Murderer Gets Death Sentence Commuted
Opposing Views
Connecticut is one of five states to abolish the death penalty in recent years, along with New Mexico, Illinois, Maryland and Nebraska, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. As of 2016, 20 U.S. states no longer have capital punishment. 

June 16

 

 

Opposition to Michigan renewable energy mandate comes from politicians, not utilities
MLive.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 29 states have renewable portfolio standards, while eight states have renewable goals. The most aggressive standard nationally is in Hawaii, which requires 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.

Legislature Legalizes Daily Fantasy Sports
Law Week Colorado
Colorado is among six states that have succeeded in creating regulations for the online fantasy sports sites. The others are Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Virginia. More than 35 states have considered regulating the sports sites since last year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Legislators Go Slow on Kratom
North Carolina Health News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a number of states have either banned or restricted the use of the substance.

One of these things just does not belong
Wilkes Journal Patriot
Yes, 19 states guarantee the right to hunt and fish in their constitutions, with 17 of those approved by voters, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Here's What Oklahoma's Anti-Choice Goals Are Costing The Sooner State
The Frisky
Teen mothers are more likely to live in poverty, and costs for public health care, foster care, welfare, and other related expenses amount to nearly $9.4 billion, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

A look at the redistricting process in every state
fox2now.com
NCSL work cited

Hemp shop opens in Friday Harbor
SanJuanIslander.com
Laws are changing in the U.S. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures website: At least 28 states have laws in place related to industrial hemp. 

June 15

Americans Don't Like Caucuses, But Replacing Them With Primaries Isn’t Easy
NPR
Caucuses are attractive to states because the parties foot the bill, not taxpayers. But Dan Diorio of the National Conference of State Legislatures says this year has many caucus states questioning whether it's worth it. "I think that's really the reaction: were they adequately prepared and is this something that maybe a state should handle and run through the familiar apparatus of a state-run election?" says Diorio. Only fourteen states hold presidential caucuses and already this year two of them – Maine and Minnesota – have decided to switch to a primary next time around.

Report highlights low pay of early childhood teachers
Education Dive
The National Conference of State Legislatures’ early education and child care tracking database reveals more than 1,000 bills being discussed across all 50 states. While there is still incredible need, at least there is evidence governments are taking it seriously.

DIVIDED AMERICA: Minorities missing in many legislatures
Gillette News Record
The AP analyzed the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Congress and the National Conference of State Legislatures to determine the extent to which the nation's thousands of lawmakers match the demographics of its hundreds of millions of residents. The result: Non-Hispanic whites make up a little over 60 percent of the U.S. population, but still hold more than 80 percent of all congressional and state legislative seats.

Around the Region: Iowa's Rep. King wants ban on trans people using capitol bathrooms
TheColu.mn
As of late May, 18 states have considered bills similar to North Carolina’s, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Iowa was not among them.

Patrick Gannon: Hunting, fishing don't belong in the constitution
Salisbury Post
Yes, 19 states guarantee the right to hunt and fish in their constitutions, with 17 of those approved by voters, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Politics & Other Mistakes: You get what you pay for
Daily Bulldog
And according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, we have one of the smallest staffs in the country relative to the size of the Legislature, with little more than three-quarters of a staffer per legislator.

June 14

Illinois budget impasse sets new lows in political, fiscal futility
Reuters
The nearly 12-month impasse - at a time when Illinois has the worst-funded pension system among the 50 states- marks a level of fiscal paralysis not seen in the United States at least since the Great Depression. No state has gone a full year without a budget since at least the 1930s, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Politics & Other Mistakes: You get what you pay for
Daily Bulldog
And according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, we have one of the smallest staffs in the country relative to the size of the Legislature, with little more than three-quarters of a staffer per legislator.

Public Sector Outsourcing After the Recession
TheSequitur.com
Spending by the states has declined by over 7 per cent since 2007 and budgets are expected to tighten further over the next couple of years despite an improved economic outlook: the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) puts the shortfall at $60 billion by 2011. 

Ron Southwick: The thorny, fascinating debate over Sunday hunting
Reading Eagle
It's one of the last remaining "blue laws" on the books that bar certain activities on Sundays. Pennsylvania is one of 11 states that bars or restricts hunting on Sundays, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

U.S. Self-driving Truck Sales Forecast to Reach 60000 by 2035
Trucks.com
Eight states have already adopted rules regarding research and testing of self-driving vehicles along U.S. road ways. Eighteen states have introduced bills this year regarding 

In US States, it’s most often a white House (and Senate)
WTOP
Legislative district population figures come from the bureau’s 2014 American Community Survey three-year estimates. State legislative figures come from the National Conference of State Legislatures’ “Who We Elect” report released in December 2015.

Aiming to Engage women in Politics
Reading Eagle
A Tri-County-area lawmaker is receiving national recognition for her efforts to increase young women's interest in politics. The National Conference of State Legislatures named state Rep. Marcy Toepel as a recipient of its Women in Politics Making a Difference Award.                                             

June 13

NY Assembly Passes Bill to Offer Undocumented College Students Financial Aid
NBC News
California, Texas, New Mexico, Minnesota, and Washington already offer financial aid to undocumented students, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Missouri Gov. Nixon signs daily fantasy sports legislation
Associated Press
It is now one of seven states to enact legislation to legalize daily fantasy sports, according to National Conference of State Legislatures policy associate Jake Lestock. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper also signed a bill Friday to legalize the games. On the other hand, attorneys general in 11 states have said the games are illegal, according to Lestock, although legislators in two of those states — Mississippi and Tennessee — passed laws to legalize them. He said attorneys general in Massachusetts and Rhode Island say it's legal.

Ohio becomes latest state to legalize medical marijuana
Business Insider
Kasich's signature made Ohio the 25th state to legalize a comprehensive medical marijuana program, according to a count by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Chris Rickert: Campaign unity 'trumps' road funding in state's powerful GOP
Chippewa Herald
The state’s registration and title fees are maybe a little higher than those in the four states it shares a border with, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Driverless Cars Are Closer Than They Appear
NewsOK.com
Autonomous-vehicle regulation is a state-by-state issue, and only eight states — plus the District of Columbia — currently have driverless-car laws on the books, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

'It was just so awkward': Bathrooms a source of stress for trans teens
DesMoinesRegister.com
As of late May, 18 states have considered bills similar to North Carolina's, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Iowa was not among them.

State legislature set to get pay increase as 2016 session set to end on Thursday
The Daily Freeman
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, California state legislators earned $97,197 a year in 2015, while lawmakers in Pennsylvania get $85,338.

Legislature needs to fix last-minute rush
St. Cloud Times
As part of this, we had two experts from the National Conference of State Legislatures talk about other states’ processes.

Almost One in Five Congress Members Are Women. Here's How Other Jobs Compare
WJCT NEWS
The share of state legislators who were women took off starting in the 1970s, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. But it has leveled off since 2010.

Light pollution blots out the Milky Way for one-third of humanity
Mashable
About 18 states and the District of Columbia have laws on the books to help limit light pollution, according to a report published in May by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Saving and Increasing Money through Telemedicine
Diagnostic Imaging
Last year, there were more than 200 telemedicine bills put before state legislatures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 10

John Kasich Signs Bill Legalizing Medical Marijuana in Ohio
Fortune
Marijuana, both for medical and recreational purposes, still remains illegal on a federal level. Gov. Kasich’s signature makes Ohio the 25th state to legalize a comprehensive medical marijuana program, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A vote to legalize recreational marijuana in the state failed in November 2015.

Got Science? The Best Way to Boost US Clean Energy (That You've Never Heard Of)
Huffington Post
With more than half the country thriving through better jobs, better health, and cost savings as they rely more and more on renewables, the other half may demand their legislators join the party as well. If you’re not sure whether your state has RES in place, check out this guide from the National Conference of State Legislatures. If it doesn’t, call or write your legislator to find out why not.

Man indicted in killing of pregnant wife
Amarillo.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, states approach the murder of a pregnant mother in different ways. Some states will increase penalties for crimes involving pregnant women, but base these laws on the pregnant woman and the loss of her pregnancy, not on the rights of the fetus. There are 38 states in the country that have laws governing fetal homicide, or feticide as it is often called. Of those states, 23 have laws that cover feticide from conception to birth.

Gov. Mark Dayton continues touring to press for special session priorities
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Peppin is traveling with Washington state Democratic Rep. Jeff Morris as part of the National Conference of State Legislatures' India project, in which lawmakers of both parties speak with academics, students, think tanks, NGOs and community leaders, Closmore said. House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, traveled to India in 2015 as part of the project, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy there. 

Sunscreen vital for skin cancer prevention
Examiner Enterprise
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 42 states and D.C. regulate indoor tanning to minors in some variation. Thirteen states have instituted laws that ban indoor tanning to anyone under 18. Oklahoma has no restrictions. 

Kansas school shutdown would follow New Jersey's contentious 
Lawrence Journal World
“Forty-six states (including Missouri) have had some kind of form of school litigation since the 1970s,” said Daniel Thatcher, an education finance specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures. “What may be bandied about (in legal arguments) is that the courts have been overreaching into the affairs of the other branches of government. But in most of the states, the supreme courts have been willing to step in.”

What Are The Dangers Of Not Vaccinating? 7 Reasons To Do It Now
Romper
This bill eliminates the personal-belief and religious exemptions, allowing exemption only for medical reasons. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Mississippi and West Virginia also do not allow vaccine exemptions. 

Special Report: Hemp on Hold Despite Industrial Applications
Santa Clarita Valley Signal
Today, at least 28 states have laws in place related to industrial hemp, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Are autonomous vehicles coming to more states?
Land Line Magazine
So far this year lawmakers in at least 18 states have introduced bills related to autonomous vehicles. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the total is up from six states only four years ago.

Intro
Coos Bay World
Using data from the National Conference of State Legislatures, InsideGov ranked the 25 states with the highest percentage of women in elected office. The data, as of March 2016, counts how many women hold elected office in each state’s House and Senate and finds a percentage based on the total number of seats in both chambers.

June 9

Ohio becomes latest state to legalize medical marijuana
Washington Times
Kasich’s signature made Ohio the 25th state to legalize a comprehensive medical marijuana program, according to a count by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Americans are moving less often because moving is hell
New York Post
According to the National Council of State Legislatures, New York has among the highest rates of transfer tax in the country and the most different kinds, too. The site adds, “There are many other local option taxes with rates varying by locality.” No kidding.
 
Schools shutting down? It wouldn't be the first time it's happened
Wichita Eagle
“Forty-six states have had some kind of form of school litigation since the 1970s,” said Daniel Thatcher, an education finance specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures. “What may be bandied about (in legal arguments) is that the courts have been overreaching into the affairs of the other branches of government. But in most of the states, the supreme courts have been willing to step in.”
 
Think Twice Before You Get That Tattoo: FDA
Philly.com
If you do decide to get a tattoo, confirm the tattoo parlor and artist are in compliance with all state and local laws. The National Conference of State Legislatures has a web page on state laws, statutes and regulations governing tattooing and body piercing. To find out about local regulations, contact your county or city health department.
 
Merlot by mail? A look at how Pa.'s new law compares to other states
PennLive.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Pennsylvania will be leaving a fairly exclusive club of just five other states that ban direct shipments of alcohol, including Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Utah. Mississippi, meanwhile, has no law on the books one way or another but operates under a de facto prohibition.
 
Keep your hands on the wheel
La Voz Nueva
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that a ban on text messaging is in effect in 46 states, novice drivers are not allowed to use mobile phones in 37 states and all mobile phone use is banned in 13 states. 
 
Op-ed: Can self-driving cars navigate around politicians?
Deseret News
Already, six states and the District of Columbia have passed laws concerning these cars, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But in the past two years, almost half the states have considered bills forcing further regulations.

June 8

California voters decide whether to allow state legislators to be suspended without pay
Los Angeles Times
It is rare for other states to suspend legislators, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks state laws and policies. The group said its records indicate only Florida and Pennsylvania have done so.
 
Everything teens want to know about sex — in an app
San Francisco Chronicle
Tennessee law “prohibits instruction and distribution of materials that promote ‘gateway sexual activity.’ Requires that parents or guardians be notified in advance of a family life program, (be) allowed to examine instruction materials, and provide written consent for a student to participate in or opt-out of family life education,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures website.
 
Telehealth advocates want MedPAC, CBO to use commercial data in judging telehealth’s effectiveness
ModernHealthcare.com
Today, 29 states and the District of Columbia have private telehealth coverage laws. That number is expected to grow to 32 states by 2017, according to a National Conference of State Legislatures estimate.
 
Can Independents Vote In South Dakota? The Rules Are A Little Tricky
Bustle
Another useful thing for people who wish to vote in South Dakota's primaries to know is that the state requires photo identification — kind of. The National Conference of State Legislatures explained that voters are expected to present an accepted form of photo ID, including a state-issued license or non-driver identification card, tribal card, student ID card, or passport containing a photo.

June 7

How much do politicians in your state make?
Washington Examiner
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 10 states have full-time legislatures, three of which are states where legislatures are "well paid" with "large staff." Twenty-four states have a hybrid model that isn't quite full-time or part-time. The remaining 16 states are part-time, six of which have low pay and small staffs.
 
Maine Voters Face Record Number of Citizen-Initiated Ballot Questions
Maine Public Broadcasting
“Well, you know, you might sort of have the perfect storm going on in Maine,” says Jennie Bowser, a former senior fellow for the National Conference of State Legislatures, where she studied the history and use of ballot initiatives. Bowser says an initiative is often a response to the actions, or inactions, of a state legislature. When a State House doesn’t line up with the perceived wishes of a state’s population, the citizen initiative is used to circumvent it.
 
Can Independents Vote In South Dakota? The Rules Are A Little Tricky
Bustle
Another useful thing for people who wish to vote in South Dakota's primaries to know is that the state requires photo identification — kind of. The National Conference of State Legislatures explained that voters are expected to present an accepted form of photo ID, including a state-issued license or non-driver identification card, tribal card, student ID card, or passport containing a photo.
 
Inmates plan hunger strike to protest solitary confinement
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Five states also have banned juvenile solitary confinement, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Democrats Introduce Federal Bill to Reinstate Votes of Convicted Felons
Washington Free Beacon
In the District of Columbia and 38 states, most ex-felons regain their right to vote after their sentence is complete, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
SID SALTER: New technology, need may fuel online tax haul
Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal
The National Conference of State Legislatures identifies an annual $303.4 million in uncollected Mississippi sales tax revenues. Given our current revenue collection woes and state budget cuts, could it be that new technologies and necessity finally force a sensible enforcement and full collection of the state’s existing sales tax?

June 6

Massachusetts Looks to Expand Antidiscrimination Law to Include Gender Identity
Seventeen other states have public-accommodation laws that “prohibit discrimination based on gender identity,” according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. They include California, New Jersey and Maine. Massachusetts is poised to become the first state to pass such a law since Maryland in 2014, according to Freedom for All Americans, an LGBT Advocacy group.
 
Analysis: Early voting could make you a liar in Mississippi
Mississippi is one of 13 states without no-excuses early voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Needle stealing case highlights issue with tracking health workers
The National Conference of State Legislatures doesn't track the issue. According to the Association of Surgical Technologists, which represents 80,000 surgical techs, two other states -- North Dakota and Washington -- require techs to register with state regulators and Indiana, New Jersey and New York require 15 hours of continuing education per year.
 
In N.J., that plastic bag could cost you a nickel
California is the only state that has imposed a statewide ban on plastic bags, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In Hawaii, every county has adopted a ban.
 
Rolly: Group telling candidates to sign pledge has ties to fringe wannabes
He's now trying to get back into public office by challenging longtime Sen. Curt Bramble,the current president of the National Conference of State Legislatures, and a co-author of SB54.
 
Chris Rickert: Campaign unity 'trumps' road funding in state's powerful GOP
The state’s registration and title fees are maybe a little higher than those in the four states it shares a border with, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Using figures from the American Petroleum Institute, the Tax Foundation ranked Wisconsin as 15th highest among the states in state gas taxes. But that still means Wisconsin has lower state gas taxes than Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.
 
LRC's shift to one-to-one compensatory time policy "just makes ...
New Legislative Research Commission Director David Byerman faced a daunting task when he took over the LRC in October — reform an agency that had been blistered in a 2014 audit by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Need may combine to fuel online tax collection
The National Conference of State Legislatures identifies an annual $303.4 million in uncollected Mississippi sales tax revenues.
 
Hawai'i's firearm screening needs an upgrade
President Barack Obama prioritized new strategies for gun safety in early 2016 in order to “curb gun violence in America,” believing that greater emphasis on firearm safety was needed, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. About 55 percent of Americans also have been shown to want stricter firearm sales laws, according to a 2015 Gallup poll.
 
Push in Sacramento to let felons vote in jail
The National Conference of State Legislatures notes that the concept of “civil death” goes back to the Greeks and Romans. In some states — Florida, Iowa — convicted felons are permanently disenfranchised.
 
DC Minimum Wage Bill Passes Council Committee
Fourteen other states have increased minimum wages at the beginning of the year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 3

PA Looking to Lead Transportation Revolution
PoliticsPA
Seven states – Nevada, California, Florida, Michigan, North Dakota, Tennessee and Arizona – and the District of Columbia currently have autonomous vehicle laws on their books, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Can self-driving cars navigate around politicians?
Deseret News
Already, six states and the District of Columbia have passed laws concerning these cars, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But in the past two years, almost half the states have considered bills forcing further regulations.
 
PolitiFact: Equal-pay protections are on the books in Texas
MyStatesman.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures and the U.S. Labor Department, only two states have no “equal pay” law — Alabama and Mississippi.
 
NFIB says 'vast majority' of minimum wage workers get raise in a year
PolitiFact
There are 29 states that have a higher minimum wage than the federal rate, but Virginia is not one of them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Sacramento: Let Felons Vote in Jail
American Spectator
When individuals commit crimes that endanger public safety, they forfeit their civil rights upon conviction. The National Conference of State Legislatures notes that the concept of “civil death” goes back to the Greeks and Romans. In some states — Florida, Iowa — convicted felons are permanently disenfranchised.
 
OUR VIEW: Townships set good example with move to mail-in ballots
Crow River Media
While most states still have traditional polling places, Oregon, Washington and Colorado now have all mail-in voting, and at least 22 states allow certain elections to be conducted entirely by mail, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

June 2

Thousands of voters in limbo after Kansas demands proof they're American
Reuters
Three other states have adopted proof of citizenship laws championed by Kobach, although officials said two of them had not implemented them. Bills have been introduced in at least nine other states to create a similar law since 2012, although none have advanced very far, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Democrats' latest power grab: let felons vote in jail
SFGate
When individuals commit crimes that endanger public safety, they forfeit their civil rights upon conviction. The National Conference of State Legislatures notes that the concept of “civil death” goes back to the Greeks and Romans. In some states — Florida, Iowa — convicted felons are permanently disenfranchised. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently made news by suspending permanent disenfranchisement by temporary order. No need for that in California. In 1976, voters amended the Constitution to end the permanent disenfranchisement of felons. The California Constitution now reads: The Legislature “shall provide for the disqualification of electors while mentally incompetent or imprisoned or on parole for the conviction of a felony.”
 
Ohio lawmakers break for 'summer recess' until November
cleveland.com
The National Conference of State Legislatures classifies Ohio as full-time "light." The Ohio legislature is well-paid and has a large staff, organization notes, but doesn't meet as often as full-time states New York and California.
 
Can self-driving cars navigate around politicians?
Deseret News
Already, six states and the District of Columbia have passed laws concerning these cars, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But in the past two years, almost half the states have considered bills forcing further regulations.
 
Wisconsin at vanguard of national legal fight on voter ID
Chippewa Herald
Wisconsin and Indiana are among nine states with “strict” photo ID requirements, as defined by the National Conference of State Legislatures. In such states, someone trying to vote without an ID must vote on a provisional ballot and take additional steps after Election Day for their vote to be counted. Whatever the courts decide in Wisconsin, it’s unlikely they’ll require major changes too soon before the November election, according to Wendy Underhill, an elections expert with the National Conference of State Legislatures.

NM law on youth concussions goes into effect
Albuquerque Journal
Lawmakers throughout the country have also taken up the issue. The National Conference of State Legislatures reported that between 2009 and 2015, all 50 states and the District of Columbia passed laws to address traumatic brain injuries. The majority of those states enacted legislation targeting youth-related concussions.
 
“Speed” of Technology Leads to Litigation: Snapchat and other mobile communications platforms offer new driving distractions
Metropolitan Corporate Counsel
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 46 states now prohibit all drivers from text messaging while driving. (See the full list on the NCSL’s website.)
 
Kansas toughened its election laws, and now thousands of US voters are now in limbo
Business Insider
Bills have been introduced in at least nine other states to create a similar law since 2012, although none have advanced very far, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Guns, Gorillas, Moon Missions: Overprotection Makes Us Less Safe
PJ Media
“Thus far, no states have enacted a law specifically targeting distracted bicyclists or pedestrians,” said Douglas Shinkle, transportation program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. But he added that “a few states continue to introduce legislation every year.”

June 1

Pfizer and Merck Join $500 Million California Ballot Stampede
Bloomberg
Nationwide, two groups from opposite sides of the political spectrum are helping promote or oppose initiatives and that’s driving interest and spending, said Wendy Underhill, program director of elections and redistricting at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver.

Harambe's Law? Maybe, says Cincinnati lawmaker
Cincinnati.com
Neither the National Conference of State Legislatures nor The Humane Society of the United States were familiar with states imposing criminal penalties for accidental deaths of endangered animals.

Expanded gaming on the table for budget talks
Philly.com
Online gambling is currently legal in Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware, as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands. Proposals to legalize the activity are also pending in California, Massachusetts, Michigan and New York, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Bill would protect right to hunt, fish in N.C. Constitution
Winston-Salem Journal
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states guarantee the right to hunt and fish in their constitutions, with voters approving the rights in 17 states. That includes Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.