NCSL in the News | March 2015

3/2/2015

March 31

Rep. Dennis Ross pushes zero-based budgeting for federal government
Washington Times
In 2000, during Jeb Bush’s tenure as governor, Florida was one of the first states to enact an eight-year cycle of agency reviews to help it better evaluate budgetary requests. The effort was abandoned a few years later after state legislatures found the process expensive and time-consuming, according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
 
What you need to know about Indiana's 'religious freedom' law 
USA TODAY 
This year, 16 states have introduced legislation to create or alter existing state religious freedom laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Is Mike Pence just like Presidents Obama and Clinton?
CBS News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, two states, Connecticut and Rhode Island, adopted their own RFRAs in 1993. Many other states relied on the federal version, until the Supreme Court ruled in 1997 in City of Boerne v. Flores that the federal law didn't apply to the states. Over the next five years, 11 more states - Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas - passed their own versions. Illinois was among the early states, adopting its version in 1998. As in Congress, the support was overwhelming and the state Senate passed the law 56-0. Then-State Sen. Barack Obama was among those voting for the law.
  
Louisiana has 'religious freedom' law similar to one stirring controversy in Indiana
NOLA.com
"The Arizona bill last year -- that was really the first time I have heard of it. That was the first time I certainly saw extensive media coverage being given to [the laws] from the LGBTQ perspective," said Jonathan Griffin, who tracks state religion laws for the National Conference for State Legislatures.
  
NC considering Indiana-like religious objection legislation
News & Observer
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 16 states have introduced legislation this year creating or altering a state religious freedom law. South Carolina, among others, has a RFRA but is considering legislation to amend or supplement it.
 
Inslee to protest Indiana law with travel ban
The Seattle Times
Nineteen other states, including Idaho, have similar laws protecting religious freedoms, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. However, some critics of Indiana’s law say it stands out by enabling businesses to legally shun customers in private transactions.
  
States like Utah tackle 'aging out' of foster care with initiatives to support education, life goals
Deseret News
So far, 21 states have expanded benefits with federal support for youths up to age 21, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Indiana has extended foster care up to age 20. Utah, Florida, Wisconsin and Delaware have their own transition programs funded with state dollars.
  
Powdered Alcohol Ban Sent to Full House
Texas Tribune
Geren’s House Bill 1018 would classify powdered alcohol as an illicit beverage, illegal to sell or possess in Texas. The legislation is one of 47 bills filed across 28 states in this year to somehow regulate powdered alcohol, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Alaska, Louisiana, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia already prohibit the sale of powdered alcohol, and Delaware and Michigan have extended liquid alcohol restrictions to powdered alcohol. In Maryland, wholesalers and distributors agreed to a voluntary ban on the product.
  
School aid win-win
Baltimore Sun
Such restrictions would seem to overcome the usual objections to tax credits for private schools — that they'll just help the affluent or that they'll hurt the public school system by draining away the most motivated students. At least 14 other states provide similar tax credits, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, including Pennsylvania and Virginia where the programs are more generous than the one Mr. Hogan has proposed.
  
Americans split over whether businesses must serve same-sex couples 
Pew Research Center 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (via The Washington Post), Indiana is the 20th state – in addition to the federal government – to enact a similar Religious Freedom Restoration Act, although there is some debate about whether Indiana’s law is slightly different (and perhaps designed to apply more to businesses).
  
The State of Politics 
Urban Milwaukee 
A National Conference of State Legislatures magazine article defined e-cigarettes this way: “Electronic cigarettes – or personal vaporizers – may look like cigarettes but they don’t contain tobacco and they don’t require a match to light up. They run on batteries and convert liquor nicotine…into a vapor that is inhaled in the same way as smoke from cigarettes.”
  
Senator deMacedo To Serve on Regional Committees 
CapeCod.com News 
Founded in 1975, the National Conference on State Legislatures is an organization to support, defend and strengthen state legislatures. The Council of State Governments is the only organization serving all three branches of government. It is a forum that fosters the exchange of ideas to help state officials shape public policy.
  
Bill would allow city bankruptcy
Herald Review
Twelve states authorize cities to file Chapter 9 bankruptcy filings, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and another 12 grant conditional ability to file.
  
Senate Panel Blocks New Mexico’s Data Breach Bill
Government Technology
New Mexico is one of only three states without a law requiring that consumers be notified in case of computer data breaches, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures

What Makes Indiana’s Religious-Freedom Law Different?

The Atlantic             
Indiana is actually soon to be just one of 20 states with a version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA,” the Post’s Hunter Schwarz wrote, linking to this map created by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Missouri lawmaker wants to cap state's 28 official symbols
Rolla Daily News
Most common among states are official flowers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.


 March 30

States Are Divided by the Lines They Draw on Immigration
New York Times
California is home to the largest population — about 1.2 million people — eligible to benefit from the president’s actions. And it has been the most active state in passing laws to make life easier for undocumented immigrants, with 26 new laws in 2014 alone, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California now allows those immigrants to drive, practice law and attend college at in-state rates. The state also passed a law limiting police cooperation with federal enforcement of immigration laws.
  
Bill pushes for possible municipal bankruptcies in Illinois
Chicago Tribune
Twelve states authorize cities to file Chapter 9 bankruptcy filings, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and another 12 grant conditional ability to file. Twenty-six states either don't have Chapter 9 authorization or prohibit it.
 
Colorado woman charged under new law in womb attack
USA TODAY
At least dozen states do not have laws making the violent death of an unborn child a homicide, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Woman who cut baby from womb won't be charged with murder over its death, DA says 
Washington Post 
Additionally, a map of state fetal homicide laws was removed to avoid confusion. The underlying data, from the National Conference of State Legislatures, included states with enhanced penalties for crimes that resulted in the death of a fetus, in addition to those that treat such crimes as murder.
  
Hundreds Rally Against Indiana Law, Say It's Discriminatory
Wall Street Journal
The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments next month over the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. Sixteen states have introduced legislation this year aimed at preventing government from infringing on people’s religious beliefs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Indiana Governor Defends 'Religious Freedom' Law
Wall Street Journal
Nineteen other states have such laws on their books, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The measures have never been used to undermine antidiscrimination laws, Mr. Pence said.
  
19 states that have 'religious freedom' laws like Indiana's that no one is boycotting 
Washington Post 
But Indiana is actually soon to be just one of 20 states with a version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
With Gay Marriage Case Pending, Religion Bills Gain Ground 
ABC News 
Sixteen states have introduced legislation this year calling for, or altering, a state religious freedom law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Gay community protests religious freedom law
Chicago Tribune
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which Gov. Mike Pence signed into law on Thursday and takes effect July 1, protects businesses that choose to not serve a customer if it's based on a religious reason. Indiana isn't alone in the law; 18 other states already had similar laws, and 16 others proposed an RFRA law of their own this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.
  
Push for Private Options in Education Gains Momentum 
Wall Street Journal 
So far this year, at least 34 states are considering proposals to create or amend programs that offer private education options, up from 29 last year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
(NCSL Info. Cited) More States Demand Notification to Use Biosimilar Drugs
PEW Stateline
Notification bills began popping up in states two years ago, but most were defeated in the face of opposition from manufacturers of biologic copies, which are called biosimilars, and from organizations representing pharmacists, who objected to the extra workload notification requirements might entail.
  
Senate panel blocks data breach bill
Albuquerque Journal
New Mexico is one of only three states without a law requiring that consumers be notified in case of computer data breaches, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Foes of HB1228 gather in LR
Arkansas Online
This year, 13 states have either adopted or are trying to pass such a law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Lawmakers stir travel industry furor over taxing online hotel bookings
Baltimore Sun
Lawmakers elsewhere have struggled with the issue. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, seven states — Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, New York, Minnesota, Wyoming and Oregon — and the District of Columbia require taxes be paid on the amount a consumer pays for a hotel room whether paid in person or through a website. But industry opposition has persuaded other states, including Virginia, to reject legislation similar to what Maryland is considering.
  
Officials say state manages Rainy Day Fund well
Charleston Daily Mail
Another analysis of fiscal year 2014 rainy day funds by the National Conference of State Legislatures ranked West Virginia ninth in terms of the total amount of money held in its reserves. According to the group’s analysis, among neighboring states, West Virginia fell only behind Ohio in terms of the total amount of funds. The Mountain State had $955 million in fiscal year 2014 while the Buckeye State had $1.4 billion.
  
Missouri lawmaker wants to cap state's 28 official symbols
Albany Times Union
Most common among states are official flowers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The pink or white Hawthorn tree flower — not to be confused with the state's official tree, the flowering dogwood — earned that distinction in Missouri.
 
Can Florida hemp become a cash crop?
Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Twenty-two have passed laws legalizing it at some level, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of those, 13 allow commercial production and seven permit cultivation by state or academic researchers. Two states now permit pilot research programs. That does not necessarily mean hemp is being produced in all of these states, said Scott Hendrick, a research director of environment and natural resources at the legislative organization. Some state laws require that growers also get waivers from the Drug Enforcement Administration or other federal agencies.
 
Medical marijuana bill moves ahead in Iowa Senate
Marshalltown Times Republican/Associated Press
A total of 23 states and the District of Columbia have comprehensive medical marijuana programs and 11 others offer more limited access to some cannabis products, according to the National Conference for State Legislatures.
  
Governors challenge Sen. McConnell on EPA defiance 
The Courier-Journal 
By the way, if you want to get really down in the weeds on how states are responding to the EPA's proposed rules, the National Conference of State Legislatures has a great summary, here.
  
Naloxone expansion in Ky part of national wave 
The Courier-Journal 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 30 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws or developed pilot programs to widen access to naloxone.
  
Medical marijuana bill moves ahead in Iowa Senate 
Rock Hill Herald 
A total of 23 states and the District of Columbia have comprehensive medical marijuana programs and 11 others offer more limited access to some cannabis products, according to the National Conference for State Legislatures. 

March 27

Human Rights Campaign hopes to fight Arkansas' religious freedom bill by scaring away Silicon 
Washington Post
The current bill — H.B. 1228 — is modeled on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, versions of have been enacted in 19 states, with more than a dozen considering adding them this year, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.
 
California Attorney General moves to reject anti-gay initiative
Al Jazeera America
California is one of 21 states where citizens can petition to have laws put on the ballot through the gathering of voter signatures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
US Watch: News Digest 
Wall Street Journal 
Forty-four states already have some form of texting ban that affects drivers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Long Legislative Road for Voucher Bills Begins
The Texas Tribune
Thirteen states, plus the District of Columbia, have some form of voucher law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That includes programs like those in Georgia, Mississippi and Utah, which are limited to students with certain learning disabilities. Currently, Texas does not have any kind of voucher policy.
 
States pass college concealed carry laws
LSU The Reveille
Most recently, the Texas state Senate passed a law allowing concealed carry on college campuses last week, but it has yet to go through the House and obtain Gov. Greg Abbott’s approval. In 2013, about 19 states proposed legislation to allow some type of concealed carry authorization on campus, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Are local option taxes a revenue-generation option for Maine's towns, cities?
Bangor Daily News
In 1970, 23 states allowed local option sales taxes, and 10 authorized local income taxes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. User fees expanded even more quickly. During the same period, reliance on income taxes to fund government was on the rise, going from 19 percent of state tax collections in 1970 to 31 percent in 1994, the group reported in a 1997 guide to local option taxes.
 
Arkansas Senate backs ban on informal transfers of adoptees
WRAL.com
The adoption services bill heads to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's desk. Hutchinson has said he'll sign both measures into law. That would make Arkansas the sixth U.S. state to regulate the transfer of adopted children, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The state would join Louisiana, which provided inspiration for the Arkansas law, as having some of the toughest laws in the nation.
 
Legislature moves to block cities from banning plastic bags 
TucsonSentinel.com 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, bills in New Jersey and Puerto Rico would ban single-use bags, and another New Jersey proposal would require a 5-cent fee for each disposable bag.
 
Wisconsin's voter ID law will stand
The Cambridge News
Data collected by the National Conference of State Legislature show that voter ID became an issue during this decade after The Commission on Federal Election Reform made a bi-partisan recommendation voters to show IDs at the polls. Only 19 states don’t require documents to vote, according to 2014 data

March 26

House OKs ban on texting while driving, but veto may loom
Houston Chronicle
No matter what, Texas already lags behind most of the rest of the country. Forty-four states already have some form of texting ban that affects all drivers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
A California lawyer wants a ballot initiative to require the execution of gay people 
Washington Post
Twenty-four states currently allow voter initiatives of some form, allowing citizens to vote directly on laws and constitutional amendments as a check on their elected representatives in the state legislature. The process is most commonly used out West, especially in California. In 1914 and again in 1987, California voters marked ballots with no fewer than 12 measures on them, the record number, according to Wendy Underhill of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
The Lawsuit That Could Take Down Obamacare Has A Paper-Trail Problem 
Huffington Post 
On April 18, 2011, McCullough sent an email to Fallin aides and state lawmakers relaying notes he took at the National Conference of State Legislature's Task Force on Federal Health Care Implementation.
 
Legislature moves to block cities from banning plastic bags
TucsonSentinel.com
A California law taking effect in July will ban large retail stores from handing out single-use plastic bags. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, bills in New Jersey and Puerto Rico would ban single-use bags, and another New Jersey proposal would require a 5-cent fee for each disposable bag.
  
Cooling it
Reno News & Review
According to the National conference of State Legislatures, “At least 33 states have enacted a “cooling-off period” before a former legislator can come back to work at the legislature as a lobbyist.” But those laws are of limited value to Nevada for comparison purposes. Only three other state legislatures meet every other year—Montana, North Dakota and Texas. Texas and North Dakota don’t have cooling-off statutes and Montana’s statute doesn’t apply to legislators.
  
Mules, frogs, fiddles, grapes — all are 'official' Missouri symbols
STLtoday.com
Neither state is alone. “Got milk? At least 17 states do — as their official state beverage or drink,” the National Conference of State Legislatures reports. It found that every state has official designations of some kind, with flowers being the most common. Iowa had the fewest official symbols, with eight; Massachusetts had the most, with 44 (state dog, state cat, state doughnut, state muffin …).
  
Indiana isn’t alone in religious freedom battle, debate heightens nationwide
Fox 59 
“It’s still up to state courts to make a decision whether a person has a sincere religious belief and whether that belief is significantly burdened by a law,” Jon Griffin said, with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Education funding gaps: Which states are hitting, missing the mark?
The Christian Science Monitor
“Research shows that after there is a point of victory in these cases, districts with the highest proportion of high-needs students ... do receive a greater share of funding ... but then after a while, the disparities slowly creep back into being,” says Dan Thatcher, a senior policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver.
  
ACLU wants limits on police drones
Salem News
Aircraft must weigh less than 55 pounds, fly below 400 feet, and keep away from airports. Driving new restrictions by states are concerns about government surveillance, such as in traffic or at public rallies, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.
  
Maine’s minimum wage looks a little worse when factoring in prices
Bangor Daily News
National Conference of State Legislatures (minimum wages by state)
 
Arkansas Senate panel backs 'conscience protection' measure
Long Beach Press Telegram
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states have similar laws and several states are currently considering them. 

March 25

This Arkansas bill would let bosses force employees to friend them on Facebook 
Washington Post 
Nearly three dozen bills in 22 states would change laws surrounding worker rights on social media, but the majority would protect employees, according to a review of data compiled by the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, current as of March 9.
 
Amid crisis, states expand access to opioid rescue drug 
USA TODAY 
Thirty states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws or developed pilot programs to widen access to naloxone, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
States Tackle ‘Aging Out’ of Foster Care
Stateline
So far, 21 states have expanded benefits with federal support to youth up to age 21, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Indiana has extended foster care up to age 20. Florida, Wisconsin and Delaware have opted out of federal funding, but have their own programs using state dollars. 
 
Buying human breast milk online poses dangerous risks, experts say
Al Jazeera America
California, Texas and New York are the only states with laws requiring certain standards for donor breast milk, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

Iowa Senate backs plan to bar minors from using tanning beds at salons, citing safety reasons
The Republic
The National Conference on State Legislatures says that at least 41 states and Washington D.C. regulate teen tanning, with 11 states banning tanning devices for anyone under 18. Iowa is one of many states where lawmakers are considering enacting a ban for minors.
 
Mug shot 'extortion' bill headed to Senate floor with newspaper exemption intact
Charleston Post Courier
The issue isn’t a new one in state legislatures. The S.C. Senate unanimously passed a similar bill last year, but the House didn’t take it up. And at least nine other states, including Georgia, have enacted legislation aimed at the websites, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

TDOT official: Why green spaces result in green dollars 
Kingsport Times News 
Tennessee is one of 25 states that have enacted so-called “three feet” bicycle safety laws seeking to ensure that motor vehicles allow adequate space to avoid sideswiping bicyclists, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
 
Passidomo's online voter registration bill could be imminent for Florida 
Naples Herald 
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that “no fraud or security breaches” have been found in states allowing online voter registration thus far. 
 
Restore America's 10th Amendment: Online Gambling Intrudes On State Sovereignty 
Daily Caller 
That is why a diverse coalition of organizations including the National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures and numerous civil libertarian, free market and conservative groups have already spoken out against this legislation.
 
Legislature set to approve medical marijuana 
Macon Telegraph  
Most states now allow medical marijuana, though some programs are too restrictive to provide practical access, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.

Anti-bullying advocates oppose NH bill aimed at protecting student privacy
Associated Press - IN
New Hampshire, which rejected a similar bill last year, is one of at least six states considering such legislation this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures
 
Mug shot ‘extortion’ bill headed to S.C. Senate floor without media ‘poison pill’
The Post and Courier
The S.C. Senate unanimously passed a similar bill last year, but the House didn’t take it up. And at least nine other states, including Georgia, have enacted legislation aimed at the websites, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Thousands of State Leaders Continue to Voice Support for Ex-Im
4 Traders
On February 23, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) sent a letter to Congress. They wrote, "The usefulness of successful programs such as Ex-Im's City/State Partners Program would be threatened if Ex-Im's authorization or lending authority lapses." The NCSL, as part of their Export Promotion Policy Directive, has standing policy in support of Ex-Im Bank.

March 24

Supreme Court Declines To Hear Challenge To Strict Wisconsin Voter ID Law
NPR
Six states had a strict government-issued photo ID requirement in effect last year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That does not include the Wisconsin, North Carolina and Texas laws, which were not in effect. A few other states, including Nevada, are also considering new voter ID laws. 

Justices turn away challenge to Wisconsin voter ID law
Fox11online.com
Including Wisconsin, 32 states have some form of enforceable voter ID laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Marijuana legalization should be up to Louisiana voters, legislator says 
NOLA.com 
Twenty-three states and Washington D.C. currently allow for medical marijuana use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
  
'Religious freedom' bill passes House 
Evansville Courier & Press 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states have Religious Freedom Restoration Acts. Ten states currently are weighing proposals to create or change their state-level version of the act this year, according to the organization.
  
Supreme Court Deals Blow to Voter ID Foes 
NEWS.GNOM.ES 
The National Conference of State Legislatures says that prior to Monday’s decision 34 states had some sort of voter ID law on the books, with 31 of those measures in effect.

Iowa Legislature considers bill on adoption leave benefits
Newton Daily News
More than 10 states have their own standards for time-off entitlements, but they’re similar to the federal law and remain unpaid, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

March 23

Common Core's cyber spies
Politico
A dozen states have tried to limit cybersnooping by banning colleges or K-12 schools, or both, from requesting student user names and passwords, which could be used to pry open social media accounts protected by privacy settings. Among those taking action: California, Illinois, Michigan and Utah. At least five other states, among them New York and Maryland, are considering similar laws this session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Arkansas Lawmaker Who Gave Away Daughters Votes to Ban It 
ABC News 
Arkansas would become the sixth state in the nation to regulate the transfer of adoptive children, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Cuomo Focuses on Ethics Reform, Not on Funding It
New York Times
New York does, at least, have some ethics oversight: several states have no ethics commissions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And in New York, few of the panels are openly complaining. 
 
Iowa Legislature considers bill to require more time-off entitlements for adoptive parents
Daily Journal
Federal law doesn't require workers to have paid time off for the birth or adoption of a child; it depends on the employer. Only three states — California, New Jersey and Rhode Island — require employers to offer some paid family and medical leave, though it's funded through employee-paid payroll taxes. More than 10 states have their own standards for time-off entitlements, but they're similar to the federal law and remain unpaid, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Local officials hope Internet sales tax legislation passes Congress
Anniston Star
Under the Marketplace Fairness Act, states would be required to provide retailers an easy way to collect those taxes  through certified software, according to Max Behlke. Behlke manages relations between the federal government and state governments represented in the National Conference of State Legislators. “Billions of dollars each year owed to the states are going uncollected,” Behlke said Thursday. His organization estimates Alabama lost out on $347 million in fiscal year 2012.
  
Ethics fight directed at Cuomo-Lee
Buffalo News
New York State would not break new ground if it required the domestic partner of a state employee to disclose financial information. New York City requires it, and the National Conference of State Legislatures says it’s also the case in Alaska and Maine.
  
Lawmakers' inaction could foil Arizonans' air travel
azcentral.com
Of the states still without such an ID, bills are pending in Arizona, Illinois and Washington. New Hampshire's Legislature rejected a bill to create a compliant ID, but a similar bill passed in Idaho, according to a summary from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Rhode Island and West Virginia have bills pending that would reject participation in the federal program.
  
State policy for deadly force changing in wake of shootings
Waterbury Republican American
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Connecticut and Wisconsin are the only two states that currently have laws requiring special investigatory procedures for police-involved deaths. So far in 2015, the NCSL said, at least nine states have proposals pending that address the appointment of special prosecutors or the creation of independent investigations of deadly force.
 
Iowa Legislature considers bill on adoption leave benefits
WRAL.com
Federal law doesn't require workers to have paid time off for the birth or adoption of a child; it depends on the employer. Only three states — California, New Jersey and Rhode Island — require employers to offer some paid family and medical leave, though it's funded through employee-paid payroll taxes. More than 10 states have their own standards for time-off entitlements, but they're similar to the federal law and remain unpaid, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Millions reported only component of spending
Chronicle Bulletin
Twelve states, like Indiana and Pennsylvania, enable candidates to accept limitless contributions from men and women and PACs. Ohio is a single of 21 states that prohibit corporate contributions directly to candidates, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Bicycle coalition opposes legislation 
Elk Grove Citizen 
She added that the National Conference of State Legislatures claimed 91 percent of bicyclists killed in 2009 reportedly were not wearing helmets.
  
NC Senators Aim To Eliminate Religious Exemption For Vaccines 
WFAE 
If the North Carolina bill becomes law, the state would join two others in only allowing exemptions for medical reasons, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Pros and cons of hydraulic fracturing 
Herald Times Reporter 
The pros and cons of hydraulic fracturing, as spelled out by proponents and opponents: Source: National Conference of State Legislatures
 
Colorado lawmaker pitching hike in minimum wage to $12.50
Capital Press
The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25, but 29 states and the District of Columbia have set higher minimum wages, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Texas Senate panel considers stronger parent trigger law
The Statesman
Six other states have passed some version of the law since then, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Drunk Driver Ignition Locks Offer ‘Significant’ Benefits, Savings: Study
Insurance Journal
According to research by the National Conference of State Legislatures, all 50 states have some sort of ignition interlock law while 21 states mandate ignition interlock provisions for all offenses.   

March 20

Democrat Bill Promotes College Affordability for Dreamers
US News & World Report
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, least 5 states – California, Minnesota, New Mexico, Texas and Washington – currently allow those students to receive state financial aid.
  
Texas Senate approves bill to allow guns on college campuses
Reuters
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, seven states have provisions allowing the carrying of concealed weapons on public postsecondary campuses.
  
Kansas House panel endorses effort to change US Constitution
Lawrence Journal World
Brenda Erickson, a researcher with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said that because the U.S. Congress has not yet enacted a formal process for creating a states' convention, several questions remain about the validity of the movement including whether the language in the resolutions must be identical, who determines the scope of the amendments and what the timeline should be if the Congress accepts the call.
  
Connecticut policy for deadly force is changing
WTNH
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Connecticut and Wisconsin are the only two states that currently have laws requiring special investigatory procedures for police-involved deaths. So far in 2015, the NCSL said, at least nine states have proposals pending that address the appointment of special prosecutors or the creation of independent investigations of deadly force.
  
Carbon monoxide poisoning, a silent killer, can be prevented
Springfield News Sun
As of January, 29 states had enacted laws requiring some kind of CO alarms in homes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
In Ohio, area municipal officials say that since 2013, state regulations require new homes — or homes remodeled in particular ways — to have detectors.
  
Colorado Democrat wants voters to increase state minimum wage from $8.23 per hour to $12.50
Daily Journal
Moreno's proposal would increase the minimum wage by a dollar each year until reaching $12.50 by 2020. The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25, but 29 states and the District of Columbia have set higher minimum wages, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Rally draws NC supporters of medical cannabis 
Charlotte Observer 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, North Carolina became one of 11 states allowing the use of such cannabis products for limited medical reasons.
  
The E-Cigarette Industry is Getting a Lot of Flak in Washington State 
Empire State Tribune 
No less than 41 states passed laws disallowing sales of electronic cigarettes to minors, as per the National Conference of State Legislatures… “It’s an all-in-one piece of legislation,” said Karmen Hanson, NCSL’s program manager.
  
Tools For Comparing States
WUIS IL Public Radio
If you are interested in checking out what is happening in other states, there are lots of great resources you can find online. The National Conference of State Legislatures puts together lists of state legislation on certain issues. Its a great way to track legislative trends.
  
Bill Creating Online Voting Registration Passes First Vote
WUFT-FM 
The switch to online registration has promoted cost savings in states like Arizona. The National Conference of State Legislatures references the Pew Charitable Trust study, which showed a change from an 83-cent cost per paper registration to 3 cents for online registration.

March 19

Loading Time for Online Sales Tax is Expiring
Roll Call
Goodlatte said he and Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, D-Calif., will hold back on moving his draft bill until there is an agreement among key groups, including the National Retail Federation, National Governors Association and National Conference of State Legislators. All three groups support the Marketplace Fairness Act proposed by Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., that would clear the way to enforce traditional sales taxes based on rates in the buyer’s home state. 
  
Extras on Excise: For Powdered Alcohol, States Disagree on Stepping Up to the Bar
Bloomberg BNA
In 2014, eight states considered bills banning powdered alcohol, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Out of these, three were successful: H.B. 4399 in South Carolina, Vermont’s S.B. 299 and S.B. 204 in Louisiana. Alaska already has provisions banning powdered alcohol, and Massachusetts law defines alcoholic beverages as liquids.
  
Iowa Senate votes to ban powdered alcohol
DesMoinesRegister.com
According to the National Conference on State Legislatures, five states prohibit the sale of powdered alcohol, and 28 states are considering legislation this year regarding powdered alcohol.
  
Washington state mulls steep tax, other restrictions on e-cigarettes
Business Insider/Reuters
At least 41 states have passed laws prohibiting sales of electronic cigarettes to minors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Other states and the federal government are considering bans on the sale of vape flavorings, like bubble gum and chocolate, that could be attractive to minors.
  
Bills on religious freedom, human trafficking, autism, make Crossover Day
Georgia Bulletin
The Georgia Catholic bishops said they are supporting Senate Bill 129, known as the Georgia Religious Freedom Restoration Act, “as a framework for evaluating freedom of religion claims” in court. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states have similar laws and 10 states are currently considering them.
  
What have term limits accomplished for Maine? 
Bangor Daily News 
But a 2004 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures found the number of women holding office in Maine has largely remained steady — in 1993, 32 percent were women; in 2004, 27 percent were women; and in 2013, 29 percent of legislators were women. 
 
North Dakota Legislature considers measure to outlaw dissemination of 'revenge porn' 
Daily Journal – Associated Press
Thirteen states have legislation that outlaw the posting of intimate photos or videos of significant others to humiliate them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
'Guns on Campus' bill gains traction in Tallahassee 
Osceola News-Gazette 
Florida is one of 20 states that bans carrying a concealed weapon on college campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Legislature looks at minors and e-cigs
Jamestown Sun
At least 41 states currently prohibit sales of electronic cigarettes or vaping/alternative tobacco products to minors, including Minnesota and South Dakota, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  

The NRA wins again, this time with Rene “Coach P” Plasencia’s support
Orlando Weekly
Florida is one of 20 states that bans carrying a concealed weapon on college campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.


 March 18

Fla. lawmakers work to abolish 'living-in-sin' law 
USA TODAY 
Only three states — Florida, Michigan and Mississippi — have laws making cohabitation illegal, according to an analysis by Sobel's staff, which cited the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Seattle businesses fight $15 minimum wage
Yahoo Finance
Beyond the retail giant, 29 states, territories and Washington, D.C., have minimum wages above the federal rate, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  
 
Zombies swarm Olympia, but they're just lobbying
The Seattle Times
Washington is one of 39 states that have a film tax-credit program in law. But programs in a few of those states, including Connecticut and Idaho, have either been suspended or are not currently funded, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Many states have a higher cap than Washington, including California, which last year tripled its tax credit to $330 million a year.
 
House committee backs ban on some post-adoption transfers
San Francisco Chronicle/Associated Press
Only a handful of states have enacted laws to regulate "re-homing," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Colorado and Wisconsin regulate the advertising of adopted children, while Louisiana and Florida have criminalized the transfer practice. Ohio has safeguards against trading money or goods in return for an adopted child. 
 
After Divisive Start, Use of 'Parent Trigger' Law Matures
Education Week News
At the same time, California's experience so far has motivated only a few states to follow its lead in adopting a parent-trigger law as a model for school overhauls: Six states have adopted parent-trigger inspired laws since 2010. This year lawmakers in six more states are considering parent-trigger legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Amendments proposed to laws in California and Texas this year would increase the number eligible schools.
 
Jeb Bush Rejects Idea Of Raising Federal Minimum Wage
CBS-Atlanta
Twenty-nine states and D.C. have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage, as stated by the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

'Revenge porn' bill mulled in ND Legislature
Dickinson Press
That was before California’s revenge porn law was enacted in October 2013, he noted. Thirteen states have enacted laws prohibiting revenge porn, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Lawmakers defeat attempt to place ethics commission on ballot
Jamestown Sun
Forty-two states have ethics commissions. In the eight states that don't — Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia and Wyoming — oversight may occur through other state agencies or a legislative ethics committee, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Open Primary Debate Spills Into The Legislature 
Fairfield Sun Times 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Montana is one of 11 states with completely open primaries. 

Bill would ban e-cigarettes in bars 
The News Journal 
Three other states, including New Jersey, ban smoking e-cigarettes indoors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Assembly OKs paid family leave bill
Newsday
Only California, New Jersey and Rhode Island provide workers with paid leave for family or medical purposes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Man gets jail time in Utah 'revenge porn' case
KSL-Utah
Thirteen states, including Utah, have passed laws to punish "revenge porn" in the past two years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Lawmaker introduces industrial hemp farming bill
Capital Press
19 states have pilot programs studying industrial hemp, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and eight states including California actively promote industrial cannabis.

 March 17

Lawmakers say 'no' to letting voters decide on state ethics commission
Dickinson Press
Forty-two states have ethics commissions. In the eight states that don’t – Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia and Wyoming – oversight may occur through other state agencies or a legislative ethics committee, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Lawmaker introduces industrial marijuana farming bill
Nevada Appeal
19 states have pilot programs studying industrial hemp, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and eight states including California actively promote industrial cannabis.
  
Interest in hemp grows at Arizona Legislature, Senate passes study committee bill
Phoenix Business Journal
Toward the end of 2014, Gilbert-based HOW Arizona filed paperwork to start the process to put an industrial hemp measure on the 2016 ballot. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states have laws providing for hemp studies, and eight have legalized its production.
  
Embattled Arkansas lawmaker who gave away adopted daughters resigns from leadership positions
Greenfield Daily Reporter/Associated Press
The move comes a day before the House Judiciary Committee is set to consider a bill to criminalize "re-homing," the informal term for transferring an adopted child to an unrelated family without state oversight. The practice is legal in Arkansas and is only regulated in five states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Report: PA lawmaker again tries to pull state from 'bottom of the barrel' in terms of citizen trust
York Daily Record
According to a 2014 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures, Pennsylvania is one of only three states with a "deluxe" legislature: full-time, well-paid and with a large staff
  
N.J. Rep. Payne pushes voting rights, leads Black Caucus after-hours speechmaking
NJ.com
Seven states require photo IDs to vote, with a law in North Carolina set to take effect in 2016, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Living in sin bill gets hearing 
Tallahassee.com 
There are just three states, Florida, Michigan and Mississippi that have laws making cohabitation illegal, according to an analysis by Sobel's staff, which cited the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
State Senator Moore to Serve on Education Committee for National Conference 
GoLocal Worcester 
“Congratulations to Senator Moore on his appointment to NCSL. Senator Moore’s intellect, work ethic, and experience will be a tremendous contribution to NCSL," said Senate President Stan Rosenberg. 
  
Local legislators, committees plan interim work 
The Sheridan Press 
Berger also sits on the Management Council, Council of State Government West Executive Committee, National Conference of State Legislatures Executive and Redistricting and Elections committees and the Capitol Building Restoration Oversight Group. 
  
Firing Squads May Return Amid Drug Shortages, Botched Executions 
Newsmax 
New Mexico (2009), Illinois (2011), Connecticut (2012) and Maryland (2013) have abolished its use in recent years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  

Lawmakers look to repeal 19th century cohabitation law
First Coast News
There are just three states, Florida, Michigan and Mississippi that have laws making cohabitation illegal, according to an analysis by Sobel's staff, which cited the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Powdered Alcohol May Be On Shelves By This Summer. But Is It Dangerous?
New Pittsburgh Courier
The National Conference of State Legislatures web site says that many states have sought to outright ban or severely restrict the availability of Palcolhol including Louisiana, South Carolina and Vermont and Alaska, who enacted legislation against it in 2014. NCSL also noted that additional bans on powdered alcohol were proposed in Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Ohio last year.


 March 16

Mass. campaign-finance rules won't pass constitutional muster
Boston Globe 
In 15 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, businesses and unions alike are prohibited from making direct campaign contributions.
  
Idaho Lawmakers Approve Limits On Indoor Tanning By Teens
Huffington Post/Reuters
The legislation is similar to laws in place in states such as Delaware and New Hampshire, said Karmen Hanson, program manager for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Ohio bill seeks ban on lookalike guns after police shootings 
Washington Times 
National Conference of State Legislatures records show that at least 12 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico have laws restricting sales or uses of imitation firearms.
  
A 'wrap' for state's film tax break? Industry on edge
Worcester Telegram
 Until the early 2000s, few states offered tax or financial incentives to encourage the industry, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Now, most states do so.
  
Are White-Collar Crime Registries the Key to Preventing Another Financial Crisis?
VICE
We might soon see whether consumers nationwide will take advantage of that resource, however. The law was sponsored by Representative Curtis S. Bramble, president-elect of the National Conference of State Legislatures, and he plans to use that influence to spread the idea around. He told the New York Times, "The registry could become a best practices for other states."
  
Are public workers who double dip unfairly criticized?
Press Herald
While no state outright bans double dipping, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, many have made changes to limit the option. In 2012, 10 states made major changes to their public retirement plans, including Kansas, Louisiana and Virginia, which all replaced defined benefit plans with cash balance or hybrid plans for new employees.
  
Powdered Alcohol May Be On Shelves By This Summer. But Is It Dangerous?
News One
The National Conference of State Legislatures web site says that many states have sought to outright ban or severly restrict the availability of Palcolhol including Louisiana, South Carolina and Vermont and Alaska, who enacted legislation against it in 2014. NCSL also noted that additional bans on powdered alcohol were proposed in Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Ohio last year.
  
Bill would allow driving permits for illegals
Amarillo.com
Ten other states — with California being the latest — and the District of Columbia already issue driving permits or driver’s licenses to residents who entered the country illegally but have not obtained U.S. citizenship or legal residency, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Delaware drone fans put positive spin on technology
The News Journal
Since 2010, 14 states have enacted laws restricting drones, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures
  
NM House approves rules for Lyft, Uber
Associated Press 
The National Conference of State Legislatures says the skyrocketing use of the services has captured the attention of lawmakers since it appears the popular companies are here to stay.
  
Newly approved powdered alcohol banned in Virginia 
Rappahannock News 
Alaska, Louisiana, South Carolina and Vermont have also banned the distribution of powdered alcohol, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
County executive asks Walker to halt testing bid 
hngnews.com 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 12 states have passed legislation regarding drug screening for welfare applicants and recipients.
  
Mar. 13 First News: State House Passes Bill To Regulate Ride-Sharing Firms (Listen) 
KSFR 
The National Conference of State Legislatures says the skyrocketing use of the services has captured the attention of lawmakers since it appears the popular companies are here to stay.
  
Indiana could take Internet taxation issue into its own hands 
The Statehouse File 
The National Conference of State Legislatures has said it supports the extension of the ban on Internet access taxation – but only if it’s combined with the sales tax measures – and the group has found support in both chambers and parties.

March 13

States Vie to Lure Military Retirees
Wall Street Journal
More than 65 such bills are pending in statehouses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, an uptick from recent years. Last year, Iowa enacted a full exemption and Nebraska a partial break for recent military retirees.

How Young Is Too Young to Buy Cigarettes?
National Journal
The debate over whether to raise the purchasing age is an old one. While it is widely understood that it can decrease smoking rates, most states opt to leave it at 18 because other adult activities also become permissible then, said Karmen Hanson, a tobacco policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "It's just one of those adult choice decisions that legislators in some states feel that is on the same level as something like military service," she said.
  
Lawmakers in Northwest eye new vaccine proposals after bill defeats
Reuters
Almost all states grant religious exemptions against immunizations, while 20 states allow philosophical exemptions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Controversy Still Swirls Around 'Palcohol' Despite Federal Approval
VICE News
Alaska, Louisiana, South Carolina and Vermont have already banned powdered alcohol, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
‘Mentally Ill’ Officer: Give Me Back My Gun
The Daily Beast      
State laws vary widely in regard to how they restrict firearms for the mentally ill. Pennsylvania is one of 21 states that have accepted a court order or an involuntary commitment as a barrier to gun ownership, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
NH House and Senate vote down bills to increase minimum wage
Concord Monitor
New Hampshire is one of 31 states across the country – and the only one in New England – that does not have a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Maine’s is $7.50, while Connecticut and Vermont have the highest minimum wages in the region at $9.15.
  
As Florida considers Medicaid expansion, Chamber makes claim about size of Medicaid budget 
PolitiFact 
Nationwide, Medicaid accounts for about 20 percent of state general fund appropriations while K-12 accounts for about one-third, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
  
US Internet Sales Tax Bill Reintroduced In Congress 
Tax-news.com 
State and local governments are said to view the taxes they cannot collect on most online sales as lost revenue, and the National Conference of State Legislatures previously calculated that the present "loophole" costs USD23bn in uncollected taxes each year.
  
Will Net Neutrality Be Short-Lived? 
Techwire.net 
William Pound, executive director of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), issued a press release calling the Title II adoption for Internet regulation “unfortunate and downright disappointing.”
  
Rep. Kelly Alexander pushes for legalizing medical marijuana 
Charlotte Observer 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, it became one of 11 states allowing the use of such cannabis products for limited medical reasons.
  
Ban on employer requests for personal passwords moves forward in Montana Legislature 
Daily Journal 
Legislation banning the practice has been introduced or considered in at least 20 states this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Debunking An Old Myth 
The Heartland Institute 
Interestingly enough, in 2009 the National Conference of State Legislatures put out a report on cancer mandates in the states, which you can review here.
  
Bill Would Let States Collect Online Sales Tax 
Transport Topics Online 
The National Conference of State Legislatures has estimated that states are losing more than $23 billion per year in uncollected sales taxes on online purchases.
  
Bill banning most vaccine exemptions fails
KIRO TV
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Washington is among 20 states that allow for personal-belief exemptions and 48 that allow for religious exemptions.
  
Voting Technology: Is it secure yet?
GCN
Currently 30 jurisdictions use e-poll books, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 


 March 12

Texting while driving: It kills but will we stop?
USA TODAY
Forty-four states ban texting while driving, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Why firing squads might become more common in the US 
Washington Post
In 1878, the U.S. Supreme Court found execution by firing squad was not cruel and unusual punishment. But that method of execution is still very rare and has only been recently legal in Western states, the National Conference of State Legislatures found.
  
Utah Passes White-Collar Felon Registry
New York Times
The legislation’s sponsor in the Utah Senate, Curtis S. Bramble, a Republican, plans to promote the idea through his role as president-elect of the National Conference of State Legislatures, an influential group, saying that “the registry could become a best practices for other states.” The pornography registry was created after every state in the country built a sex offender registry. And according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, several states have formed drug-offender registries and even a database of arsonists.
  
States Vie to Lure Military Retirees
Wall Street Journal
More than 65 such bills are pending in statehouses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, an uptick from recent years. Last year, Iowa enacted a full exemption and Nebraska a partial break for recent military retirees.
  
Voters should decide whether to cap future increases in state spending
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pennsylvania is in the minority of states in having no spending controls in place. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 30 states operate under a tax or expenditure limitation.
  
Iowa Democrats propose new medical marijuana program
Quad City Times
Of the 35 states with comprehensive or limited medical marijuana programs, 26 allow for dispensaries, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Oregon House extends hospital tax
Portland Tribune
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, all but one state (Alaska) had similar provider taxes in 2013-14.
 
Powdered alcohol approved by feds; Colorado still debating
The Gazette
The freeze-dried vodka, rum, powderitas and other drinks will appeal to backpackers and those wishing to travel light with booze, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Blunt co-sponsors crackdown on human traffickers 
KY3 
The Victims of Trafficking Act has been endorsed by 200 advocacy groups, including the NAACP, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Rights 4 Girls, National Association to Protect Children, Fraternal Order of Police, and the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Senate panel passes bill to end campaign donation limits 
Las Cruces Sun-News 
Only four states do not have any campaign spending limits, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Proposed expansion of Kentucky's booster seat law clears key hurdle in state Senate 
Lexington Herald Leader 
He said he was convinced to back it after hearing a pediatrician at a National Conference of State Legislatures meeting speak of the damage children can incur when not properly buckled into a car.

 Mug shot 'extortion' bill in SC Senate setting up First Amendment fight 

Charleston Post Courier 
At least nine other states have enacted legislation aimed at the websites, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Georgia House panel revives education savings accounts bill 
Education Week News 
Arizona and Florida have instituted similar programs, and lawmakers in a dozen states including Georgia are debating legislation this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures
  
The Quiet Threats to Obamacare 
The Daily Herald
For example, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 state legislatures between 2010 and the end of 2014 enacted laws or measures "related to challenging or opting out of broad health reform related to mandatory provisions" in the ACA.


 March 11

NGA Seeks Alternatives to Goodlatte's Online Sales Tax Bill
CQ Roll Call
The National Governors Association urged Speaker John A. Boehner and his team in a letter this week to help resolve a dispute in the House Judiciary Committee over legislation to authorize the collection of sales taxes from remote online sellers. While Goodlatte hunts for allies, many lawmakers are lining up with the NGA, National Retail Federation and National Conference of State Legislatures to support the Enzi bill, and Chaffetz draft proposal.
  
Police kill teen: Why Wisconsin's investigation will be different
CNN
Connecticut's law requires the state's Division of Criminal Justice with investigating any deadly force by law enforcement, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The state's chief attorney can appoint a special prosecutor, and the law also allows anyone to make a written request to the chief attorney to appoint a special prosecutor, the NCSL said. After that, Connecticut's Division of Criminal Justice must submit a report to the state's chief attorney detailing whether the use of deadly force was appropriate. While such laws are rather novel, a dozen other states have proposed measures about appointing special prosecutors for, or providing independent investigation in, officer-involved deaths, according to the NCSL.
  
Proposed Helmet Law Draws Protest from Biking Advocates
NBC Los Angeles
Ninety-one percent of bicyclists killed in 2009 reportedly were not wearing helmets, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Va. Gov. Signs Bill Allowing Moms to Breastfeed in Public
NBC Washington
Prior to the signing of the law, women in Virginia were allowed to "breastfeed on any land or property owned by the state," according to National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Georgia House panel revives education savings accounts bill
Washington Times
Arizona and Florida have instituted similar programs, and lawmakers in a dozen states including Georgia are debating legislation this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Police kill teen: Why Madison's investigation will be different than Ferguson 
WDJT 
Connecticut's law requires the state's Division of Criminal Justice with investigating any deadly force by law enforcement, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Gov. Walker earning political capital from right-to-work legislation 
WTAQ 
The National Conference of State Legislatures says there are almost 800 union-related bills in states around the country.
  
VA could prescribe pot to veterans under new bill
Stars and Stripes
In 2010, the Obama administration asked prosecutors not to go after medical marijuana sellers and the Department of Justice announced in 2013 that it would not challenge states that have decriminalized or legalized pot, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Utah Senate votes down medical marijuana bill
The Herald Journal
If Utah had passed the measure, it would have joined 23 states and the District of Columbia where medical marijuana programs are already in place, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 


 March 10

It's Not Just Right-to-Work: Bills Targeting Unions Multiply
ABC News 
With many legislative sessions just beginning, nearly 800 union-related bills have been proposed in statehouses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Ohio State to require vaccinations for incoming students
Fox News
All U.S. states require certain vaccines for students but at least 20 extend exemptions for a range of personal beliefs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Could one of these states be the next to pass a right-to-work law?
Washington Post
The issue is a perennial one in state legislatures and this year is no different. Right-to-work legislation was considered in 19 states in 2012, 21 states in 2013 and 20 states last year, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. And more than half-a-dozen have considered it this year. 

Police kill teen: Why probe will be different
KCCI Des Moines
Connecticut's law requires the state's Division of Criminal Justice with investigating any deadly force by law enforcement, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Utah Senate votes down medical marijuana bill

The Idaho Statesman
If Utah had passed the measure, it would have joined 23 states and the District of Columbia where medical marijuana programs are already in place, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Va. Gov. Signs Bill Allowing Moms to Breastfeed in Public
NBC Washington
Prior to the signing of the law, women were allowed to "breastfeed on any land or property owned by the state," according to National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Online voter registration gains momentum in Florida
St. Augustine Record
Twenty states now allow online registration, including Georgia, South Carolina and Louisiana. Four more have passed laws to implement it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.


 March 9

Justice Kennedy gives hope to advocates of online sales tax
The Hill
Some Washington tax analysts believe Kennedy now is seeking to prod Congress into finding an online sales tax solution, with the National Conference of State Legislatures saying that states could be losing an average of $23 billion a year in uncollected revenues.
  
Safety concerns block effort to raise interstate speed limit
Washington Times
A report last year from the National Conference of State Legislatures said that 10,219 people were killed nationally in speeding related crashes in 2012, though many of those accidents were not on interstate highways. About a third of all crashes typically are related to speeding.
  
DOJ expected to charge Menendez with corruption 
USA TODAY 
New Jersey is one of 36 states where the governor makes an appointment to fill a U.S. Senate vacancy, and the appointee serves until the next regularly scheduled, statewide general election, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Hutchinson Seeks Review of Adoption Rules After Abuse Case 
ABC News 
Only a handful of states have enacted laws to regulate "re-homing," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Why Teen Women Of Color Are More Likely To Become Pregnant 
Huffington Post 
According to Kate Blackman, a research analyst in the health program at the National Conference of State Legislatures, “states do a lot to raise awareness. We’ve seen some reductions in teen pregnancy—when it’s been a priority.”
  
Wisconsin is set to become the 25th right-to-work state 
Washington Post 
The table below shows all state action on right-to-work, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Adopted, given away, abused: Arkansas reviews child 're-homing'
The Seattle Times
Only a few states have enacted laws to regulate “re-homing,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Colorado and Wisconsin regulate the advertising of adopted children, while Louisiana and Florida have criminalized the “re-homing” practice. Ohio has safeguards against trading money or goods in return for an adopted child.

Focus shifts to states ahead of Supreme Court ACA ruling

The Tennessean
Tennessee is one of 11 states with bills proposed in 2015 to prohibit state-run exchanges, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Six of the states are in the southeast.
 
Online voter registration gains momentum in Florida
Tampabay.com
Twenty states now allow online registration, including Georgia, South Carolina and Louisiana. Four more have enacted laws to implement it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Many teen girls having sex are being exploited by older men
Norwalk Reflector
According to Kate Blackman, a research analyst in the health program at the National Conference of State Legislatures, “states do a lot to raise awareness. We’ve seen some reductions in teen pregnancy — when it’s been a priority.”
  
Florida could become 25th state to allow online voter registration
Bradenton Herald
Twenty states now allow online registration, including Georgia, South Carolina and Louisiana. Four more have passed laws to implement it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Stewards of the land? Not so much
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Other places have tried partnering with businesses to make up for dwindling state support, and it hasn't gone well. According to a 2012 report by the National Council of State Legislatures, none of these programs has been able to become self-sustaining. In California and Arizona, state government was forced to padlock parks after budget cuts, despite offering naming rights for buildings and trails to corporate sponsors.
  
Tightening job market impacting minimum wage hike
Buffalo News
New York was one of 20 states that increased their minimum wages at the beginning of January, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In nine of those states, the minimum wage increased because it is indexed to inflation.
  
3-6-15 Push to drug test welfare recipients dead in Legislature 
Hampshire Review 
The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 12 states have passed laws requiring drug testing for public assistance.
 
Death of fetus after pregnant mom run down by SUV not a crime in NY 
Syracuse.com 
Nationwide, 38 states have fetal homicide laws of some sort, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Majority favors part-time Legislature 
Rochester Business Journal 
While groups such as the National Conference of State Legislatures categorize New York’s legislative body as full time, its lawmakers are in session six months each year and many hold outside jobs.
  
Welcome by workers, wage hike brings warning from business
Scranton Times-Tribune
When considering the six states at its border, Pennsylvania has the lowest minimum wage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which collects minimum wage data. Only Delaware, at $7.75 is under $8, and that will increase to $8.25 on June 1.
  
Bill would push Alabama voter registration deadline back 
Montgomery Advertiser 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, deadlines around the country range from eight to 30 days, though ten states and the District of Columbia allow registration on Election Day.
  
Ohio State to require vaccinations for incoming students 
Reuters 
All U.S. states require certain vaccines for students but at least 20 extend exemptions for a range of personal beliefs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Few states likely to set up health exchanges to save subsidies
Business Insurance
At least 11 states have legislation pending to authorize the establishment of an exchange, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Bill would require ignition interlocks for DWIs
Post Bulletin
Currently, 21 states have mandatory ignition interlock provisions for all offenses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures

March 6

State Lawmakers Keep Busy While Supreme Court Weighs Obamacare
NPR
The measures, all introduced this year, are split pretty evenly between ones that seek to bolster insurance exchanges and those that would impede their progress or bar them for good, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures, or NCSL.
  
Weinberg helps to counter corporate-funded group that pushed Stand Your Ground gun bills
NJ.com
Republicans now control 30 state legislatures compared to 11 for Democrats, up from 26 in 2013 when Democrats had majorities in 19, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In eight states, each party controls one chamber, up from four in 2013. Nebraska's unicameral legislature is officially non-partisan.
 

College financial aid for 'Dreamers' gains key support
The CT Mirror
Five other states allow undocumented students to access state financial aid, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Those states include California, New Mexico, Minnesota, Texas and Washington.

Kansas bill targets teachers who expose kids to 'harmful' materials
The Christian Science Monitor
Thirty-seven states require school districts to allow some form of parental involvement in sex-ed programs, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) reports. Thirty-five states allow parents to opt their children out. 

Medical pot proposal passes first test in conservative Utah
Daily Herald
If Utah passed the bill, it would join 23 states and District of Columbia where medical marijuana programs are in place, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Hogan wants to refill campaign finance fund he used
MarylandReporter.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 25 states have public funding programs and 10 have a form of the income-tax check off. 

NH Senate Committee Rejects REAL ID Adoption
My Champlain Valley FOX44 & ABC22
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are 26 other states that are non-complaint in the REAL ID program.  

Arizona May Study Hemp as a New Major Crop
Phoenix New Times
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states have implemented laws calling for such studies. 

Nevada rape victim tells her story at gun campus-carry hearing
Las Vegas Review-Journal
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures in information dated from February 2015, 23 states let universities make the call on carrying concealed weapons, 20 ban weapons and seven, including Utah, Colorado and Idaho, allow firearms to be carried with some limitations. 

Eric Ratinoff: Bike helmet law is common sense
Vallejo Times Herald
During her introduction of this bill, she cited a 2012 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures that said 91 percent of bicyclists killed in 2009 reportedly were not wearing helmets 

Senate, House look for common ground on medical marijuana
Macon Telegraph
Despite that, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, nearly half the states have passed workable medical marijuana programs.

March 5

To Save or Not to Save Obamacare? States Split as King v. Burwell Kicks Off
Governing
Legislators in Florida, Indiana, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia have filed bills allowing for the creation of some form of a state-based exchange in recent months, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures and a Governing analysis. All but one have been sponsored by Democrats, and none have advanced.
  
U.S. Supreme Court Scrutinizes the Meaning of 'Legislature'
Governing
The 14 members of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission are also selected with what the National Conference of State Legislatures described in a brief as "minimal input from the state legislature."
  
Washington Twp. mom alarmed by school bus red light violators
NJ.com
Nationally, every day more than 450,000 school buses transport 25 million children to and from school, according to a transportation review by the National Conference of State Legislatures. That number is roughly 55 percent of the student population, from preschool to 12th grade.
  
State Sen. Debbie Smith plans to return to Legislature in April after surgery on brain tumor
The Republic
The Reno Democrat has won several lawmaker of the year awards and is the president of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Governor can stop Assembly's last-minute ethics reform flimflam
The Virginian-Pilot
This session, lawmakers didn't even try to rein in the practice of unlimited campaign contributions. Only about a half-dozen states - including Virginia - allow them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Allowing unlimited donations invites voters' cynicism and distrust.
  
Hogan wants to refill campaign finance fund he used
MarylandReporter.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 25 states have public funding programs and 10 have a form of the income-tax check off.
  
Obamacare challenged in Supreme Court, but the states did it first
Center for Public Integrity
Bills concerning health care exchanges are pending in at least 16 states. The measures, all introduced this year, are split pretty evenly between ones that seek to bolster insurance exchanges and those that would impede their progress or bar them for good, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures, or NCSL.
  
Wisconsin DNR considers selling state park naming rights
TwinCities.com-Pioneer Press
State parks in California, New York and Virginia have sought partnerships with businesses -- including North Face, Nestle, Coca-Cola, Sony and others -- that want to increase their visibility and branding in parks, but haven't been able to become self-sustaining, the National Council of State Legislatures reported in 2012. In Virginia, North Face's logo was added to trailhead signs, NCSL researcher Douglas Shinkle wrote, but when tax dollars were withdrawn, states like California and Arizona were forced to padlock some parks.

W.Va. push to drug test welfare recipients dead in Legislature
Huntington Herald Dispatch
The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 12 states have passed laws requiring drug testing for public assistance. 

With outcome-based funding on the rise in higher ed, what works?
Education Dive
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 30 states already have adjusted their higher education funding formula to include performance-based measures and four more are in the process of implementing similar practices.
  
States Split Over King v. Burwell
Insurance News Net
Legislators in Florida, Indiana, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia have filed bills allowing for the creation of some form of a state-based exchange in recent months, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures and a Governing analysis
  
NM's longest-serving lawmaker, Rep, Nick Salazar, dealing with health issues
Albuquerque Journal
As of last year, he was one of about a dozen legislators around the country that had completed at least 42 years of legislative service, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Five-year-old Indiana boy to lawmakers: ‘Please say yes’ to right to try bill
FOX 59
In 2014, five states passed “right to try” legislation, and 31 other states have introduced bills, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Confusion leads to delay of Colorado House committee vote on powdered alcohol bill
Colorado Springs Gazette
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, There are 26 other states taking up the issue this year with 42 different bills, according to the tally from conference.

March 4

The FCC Has Ruled on Net Neutrality; Do States Get a Say?
National Journal
"What the states have been more concerned about is consumer protection and privacy," says Jon Adame, director of communications, financial services, and interstate commerce at the National Conference of State Legislatures. State regulation has been "more based on the content that's on the Internet in a speech capacity as opposed to what kind of packets are moving across the network," Adame says. 
 
Clarification: Vaccine Exemptions Story 
ABC News 
In a story Feb. 28, The Associated Press reported that Washington, California and Vermont were considering bills that would remove either personal, religious or philosophical exemptions for vaccinations. The story should have attributed the information to Kristine Goodwin, a program manager at the National Conference on State Legislatures
 
Kentucky Senate bill adds another layer of transparency
State-Journal.com
Kay said his bill had some opposition from those wanting to get a final report from the National Conference of State Legislatures’ draft audit. The final report, Kay said, won’t stray from the core of information in the draft depicting discontent and low morale among LRC employees. 
 
Lawmakers Seek Penalties On Using Drones To Invade Privacy 
CBS Denver
A handful of states have passed laws creating penalties for the use of drones to invade someone’s privacy, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Cyberbullying bill faces tough road in Colorado Senate
KOAA.com Colorado Springs and Pueblo News
Since 2006, nearly three dozen states have enacted legislation to address cyberbullying, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Iowa bill would prohibit racial profiling by law enforcement
DesMoinesRegister.com
In fact, 23 states have laws addressing racial profiling, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, based in Denver. In general, those laws define and prohibit the practice.

State redistricting under scrutiny in Supreme Court; Idaho wouldn't be affected 
The Idaho Statesman 
The 14 members of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission are also selected with what the National Conference of State Legislatures described in a brief as "minimal input from the state Legislature."
 
Hemp Legalization Advocates Have Powerful Ally In McConnell 
Newsmax.com 
The support for industrial hemp is growing among states, and almost 20 state legislatures have already cleared the way for industrial production by hemp as distinct from marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). 
 
Second body-camera bill introduced in Iowa House 
DesMoinesRegister.com 
There are at least 86 pieces of body-camera legislation under consideration in 30 states, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Kentucky Senate bill adds another layer of transparency 
State-Journal.com 
Kay said his bill had some opposition from those wanting to get a final report from the National Conference of State Legislatures’ draft audit.  
 
U of Michigan commits $1.4M for 'Digital Innovation Greenhouse' 
Education Dive 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 30 states have a funding formula that allocates state dollars based on performance. 

March 3

Supreme Court takes up highly political Arizona redistricting case 
Washington Post 
The National Conference of State Legislatures filed an amicus brief in support of the legislature’s challenge to the law, while 13 states and the Department of Justice have weighed in on behalf of the commission.
 
Obama Police Commission Sidesteps Most Controversial Reforms 
NBCNews.com 
The National Conference of State Legislatures says that 30 states are considering some kind of police camera provision. Other states are considering reforms like changing how officer killings of civilians are investigated.  

Blue Cross And Blue Shield NC Pushing Health Care Price Transparency 
Forbes 
The National Conference of State Legislatures also provides a state-by-state breakdown of laws that push health care entities to take on more of this responsibility.
 
Independent Redistricting Panel Doubted by U.S. High Court
Bloomberg
Arizona is among a handful of states that give an independent panel the primary responsibility for congressional district lines. It’s one of only two -- along with California -- that effectively exclude the state legislature from the redistricting process, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Justices seem skeptical of independent electoral map boards 
Washington Post 
Only Arizona and California essentially remove the legislature from the process, the National Conference of State Legislatures said in support of the Republican lawmakers.
  
Dispute-Resolution System Fuels Criticism of Pacific Trade Pact
Wall Street Journal
State lawmakers are also worried about ISDS out of concern that foreign companies could seek damages for a state’s regulations and decisions, and the National Conference of State Legislatures opposes the measure.
  
Those Obamacare Nullification Amendments Could Make a Big Comeback Post-SCOTUS
National Journal
Alabama, Arizona, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Wyoming have passed anti-Obamacare amendments, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And more than 1 million people in those five states would lose tax credits if the high court rules against the Obama administration later this year, according to estimates from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
  
Why Colleges Want Your Personal Data
National Journal
Colleges are under intense pressure to raise degree-completion rates. Thirty states now fund public colleges and universities—at least partly—based on criteria such as the number of students who graduate and the number of degrees awarded, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Pittsburgh councilman offers incentive for local businesses to increase wages
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Mr. O’Connor’s bill comes amid President Barack Obama’s push for an increase in the federal minimum wage. The president has called on Congress to raise the national minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour. As of Feb. 24, 29 states and Washington, D.C., have minimum wages higher than the federal minimum, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Johnson County middle school driving Kansas debate over sex education
Kansas City Star
Now the bill awaits approval by the full House. If it becomes law, Kansas would become just the fourth state in the country to require parents to opt in for sex education, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Lawmakers Considering Tanning Ban for Teens
NECN
The House will vote Wednesday on the bill, which has unanimous support from the Republican-controlled Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee. Eleven other states and the District of Columbia ban tanning for minors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
The complicated politics of a school-donation tax credit 
Capital New York 
“There is always this debate of whether a tax credit is government spending or not,” said Josh Cunningham, a policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures who follows state-level education legislation. “The [U.S.] Supreme Court heard a case about the Arizona tax credit program and ruled that this not a government expense, because the government never possessed that money. A lot of times the fiscal analysts that work for the state consider it an expense; it’s foregone revenue. So in the legal sense, it is not technically taxpayer dollars, but in a practical sense, it’s foregone revenue.”
  
Ahead of redistricting, Democrats seek to reverse statehouse declines 
Pew Research Center 
In most states, it’s the state legislature that takes the lead role in drawing new district maps, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. … According to our analysis of NCSL data, the Democratic Party today has 919 fewer legislative seats than it did in 2009.
  
State redistricting is under scrutiny at Supreme Court 
McClatchy Washington Bureau 
The 14 members of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission are also selected with what the National Conference of State Legislatures described in a brief as “minimal input from the state legislature.”

Conflict of interest? Utah lawmakers must vote anyway 
Salt Lake Tribune 
Utah and Oregon are the only states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, where legislators cannot abstain nor simply vote "present," an option that the U.S. Congress allows. 

WY Senate hears bill to allow guns in schools
KEVN Black Hills Fox
According to the non-partisan National Conference of State Legislatures, Montana and South Dakota leave it up to each college or university to decide whether to allow concealed carry on campus.

Bill takes aim at e-cig sales to minors
Portland Tribune
Oregon is one of just nine states that do not ban sales of e-cigarettes to minors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
4 Reasons NJ Lawmakers Want Votes of Dead People 
newjerseynewsroom.com 
National Conference of State Legislatures senior fellow Tim Storey said, "There are lots of examples of elections being decided by one vote or 300 votes."

March 2

Supreme Court considers constitutionality of independent redistricting
Politico
But the National Conference of State Legislatures — which filed a brief supporting the legislature’s case — believes the case is being viewed too broadly by the other side, distracting from the redistricting issue at hand. Invalidating Arizona’s commission won’t necessarily mean the court will throw out election laws across the country, NCSL says. “People have really taken this case and run with it,” said Susan Frederick, senior federal affairs counsel for the NCSL. “It’s a pretty straightforward case from where we sit. We’ll have to see how the Supreme Court chooses to interpret it.” Frederick said redistricting reform advocates have turned the case into more than it is, “If the sky falls down, what will happen?,” she said of their reaction. “I’m not a Supreme Court guru,” she acknowledged. But I do know that the Supreme Court isn’t prone to these broad stroke rulings. They usually go for the most narrow ruling.”
      
High court case threatens independent electoral map drawers
U.S. News & World Report
Only Arizona and California essentially remove the legislature from the process, the National Conference of State Legislatures said in support of the Republican lawmakers in Arizona. Lawmakers' only contribution in those states is picking commission members from a list devised by others. In the other states — Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Washington — lawmakers either get first crack at drawing districts, approve plans drawn by commissions or appoint commission members of their choosing, the conference said.
      
Supreme court to hear case on voter-approved redistricting
PBS NewsHour/Associated Press
Only Arizona and California essentially remove the legislature from the process, the National Conference of State Legislatures said in support of the Republican lawmakers in Arizona.
      
High court to decide whether legislators must draw district lines
SFGate
The case is more about power than partisanship. Lining up behind Arizona’s Republican-controlled legislature is the National Conference of State Legislatures, which includes California’s Democratic-dominated state house.
      
Why the FCC's Municipal-Broadband Ruling Matters, Too
The New Yorker
The executive director of the National Conference of State Legislatures, William Pound, suggested in a press release on Thursday that the F.C.C. decision overstepped the commission’s bounds. He said that his organization “takes the preemption of states very seriously and will continue to pursue our options to ensure that any action taken by the FCC on municipal broadband networks are overturned by the courts.”
      
GOP fears grow over ObamaCare challenge
The Hill
State lawmakers across the country, though, are seeking their own fallback plans. Nine states are in talks to keep subsidies by creating their own exchanges, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which would make the state’s ObamaCare customers eligible for subsidies under the current law.
      
GOP states revisit Obamacare as Supreme Court weighs subsidies 
Washington Post 
A total of nine states now have bills under consideration to set up their own marketplaces, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures
      
States Work to Protect Electric Grid From Solar Storms, Nuclear Threat
GovExec.com
Kristy Hartman, senior energy policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), said that since 2013, EMP or solar storm-related legislation has been filed in at least 11 states. It was enacted in five, failed in three and is pending in the rest.
      
Colorado debate: Are red-light, speed cameras worth it?
The Coloradoan
Ten states prohibit the use of photo radar or red-light camera enforcement, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In Colorado, 10 cities use the traffic-enforcement cameras. A legislative analysis of the bill last year estimated the cities would lose about $16.1 million in revenue from fines during the first year of a ban.
     
Bentley plan: Alabama cigarette tax would be higher than most neighboring states; middle of pack nationally
AL.com
Twenty-five states would still charge more per pack than Alabama after an increase, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. New York has the highest tax per pack, $4.35, while Missouri's tax of 17 cents is the lowest.
      
Lawmakers could limit license plate scanner use
The Daily Citizen
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, legislation to regulate license plate scanners has been introduced in 13 states so far this year.
      
Lawmakers move to stop agencies from paying for union work
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Utah lawmakers in 2011 passed legislation that prohibits paid union leave for public school teachers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
      
Lawmaker plans to file firing squad legislation 
Baxter Bulletin 
Capital punishment is authorized in 32 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Is the Common Core here to stay? Takeaways from a discussion of standards, opposition, test
cleveland.com 
Adding an unbiased national look was Daniel Thatcher, senior policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures, who tracks legislation that might affect the standards in all states.
  
Argument preview: Who, exactly, is “the legislature”? 
SCOTUSblog (blog) 
The Arizona legislature has drawn the amicus support of the National Conference of State Legislatures, and of a private advocacy group that supports “free and fair elections” — the Coolidge-Reagan Foundation.
      
House passes bill for LRC personnel policy 
The Courier-Journal 
"Morale is at an all-time low," Kay said of the LRC staff. He cited findings of a recent report by the National Conference of State Legislatures on the agency that attributed the low morale to an informal personnel policy that vested excessive power in the staff director to set salaries and determine promotions.
      
Senate panel OKs bicycle passing proposal 
Sioux Falls Argus Leader 
On roads with speed limits of 35 mph or less, cars must give cyclists a 3-foot buffer when passing on the left, and on roads with speed limits above 35 mph, the passing buffer is 6 feet. There are at least 25 states, plus the District of Columbia, that have a 3-foot cushion law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
     
Time to ban 'Palcohol' in Texas?
Fort Worth Star Telegram
Alaska, Delaware, Louisiana, South Carolina and Vermont have already outlawed the use of powdered alcohol, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

State payments to legislators up
Arkansas Online
About $10,160 of Bell's expenses were incurred in 2013 but submitted in 2014, a factor that drove up his totals. He also attended a Council of State Governments conference in Alaska in August; an American Legislative Exchange Council meeting in Kansas City in May; and a meeting in Washington, D.C., in December at a cost of about $5,400 to the state.
      
Despite GOP Objections, Kentucky House Moves On Legislative Research Commission Reforms
Kentucky Public Radio
The draft of an audit of the LRC, performed by the National Conference of State Legislatures and made public last month, recommended similar changes. The report, which stemmed from surveys of LRC employees and state lawmakers, said staffers thought hiring, pay and career advancement were largely arbitrary.
     
States Seek to Shore Up Electric Grid Vulnerabilities
Government Technology
Kristy Hartman, senior energy policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), said that since 2013, EMP or solar storm-related legislation has been filed in at least 11 states. It was enacted in five, failed in three and is pending in the rest.