NCSL in the News | May 2016

5/1/2016

May 31

Va. prosecutors seek names of restored felons who may now be jurors, but McAuliffe refuses
Washington Post
In 38 states and Washington, D.C., most felons automatically gain the right to vote when they complete their sentence, according to the National Conference of State Legislators, which in turn enables them to serve on juries. Only three states permanently revoke voting rights for people with prior felony convictions.
 
N.Y. wants self-driving cars, but must first fix 1971 law
New York Daily News
New York, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, is the only state in the nation with a law requiring at least one hand on the steering wheel.
 
Editorial: Collecting online sales tax could help state budgets
Times West Virginian
The estimates of the state losses are “budget-hole-filling” amounts. According to research from the University of Tennessee and the National Conference of State Legislatures for 2012, West Virginia was missing $103 million a year. The estimates for Ohio and Kentucky were $628 million and $224 million, respectively.
 
Commentary by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos: A Week in Review
Journal Times
As an elected official, I think it’s my job to constantly learn about new ideas. One weekend, I spent time at the quarterly meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures. This is a great group of bipartisan state leaders from across the nation sharing ideas from their states. I’m honored to serve on their executive board and believe very strongly in their bipartisan mission. In fact, I’m proud to carry through on that bipartisan mission in the Assembly. 
 
Investigation puts scrutiny on lobbyists, political ties
Tribune-Review
“What these laws are really designed to do is prevent the appearance of impropriety and preserve a sense of public trust in government. Sometimes that's as important as preventing” actual corruption, said Ethan Wilson, policy specialist at the Center for Ethics in Government at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
In online sales tax battle, states pin hopes on courts
The Recorder
A 2012 estimate pegs the losses at $11 billion annually, according to research from the University of Tennessee and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

The impact of the transgender order on the presidential race
Communities Digital News
The bathroom directive follows actions by 17 states which this year have initiated or are considering legislation that would restrict access to multiuser restrooms, locker rooms and other sex-segregated facilities on the basis of sex assigned at birth, or “biological sex,” according to a National Conference of State legislatures study.

Old Law In The State of New York Must Be Changed To Enable Self-Driving Cars
Autoevolution
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, New York is the only state in the USA which has a law that requires at least one hand on the steering wheel while driving a vehicle.
 
Former Idaho Stampede guard Dejean-Jones fatally shot
KMVT
Texas and 21 other states have also removed a stipulation that a person has the "duty to retreat" before resorting to force against an attacker, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Prosecutors, McAuliffe squabble over list of people with restored rights
Roanoke Times
In 38 states and Washington, D.C., most felons automatically gain the right to vote when they complete their sentence, according to the National Conference of State Legislators, which in turn enables them to serve on juries. Only three states permanently revoke voting rights for people with prior felony convictions.
 
NBA: Bryce Dejean-Jones was allegedly shot for breaking and entering?
Sportsrageous
Texas and 21 other states have also removed a condition that a person has the “duty to retreat” before resorting to force against an attacker, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Virginia prosecutors seek names of restored felons who may now be jurors but McAuliffe refuses
Tribune-Review
In 38 states and Washington, D.C., most felons automatically gain the right to vote when they complete their sentence, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. 

Kansas legislators amass full-time pensions from part-time jobs
Wichita Eagle
But the most distinct thing about the pension for Kansas lawmakers is that it “annualizes” legislators’ part-time wages to create full-time-sized pensions. The National Conference of Legislatures shows no other state offering that windfall.
 
New Minnesota law targets what critics call 'excessive' ADA lawsuits
Duluth News Tribune
A 2015 California law tracks people who frequently file ADA suits and charges them an additional court filing fee of $1,000, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The state has other laws designed to curb such suits as well.
 
NBA player fatally shot
WTTV CBS4Indy
Texas and 21 other states have also removed a stipulation that a person has the “duty to retreat” before resorting to force against an attacker, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Vancouver millennials inspired to run for office
The Columbian
The average age of a state legislator is 56, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Opt-Out Movement Forces Legislatures to Scrap Standardized Tests
PJ Media
A National Conference of State Legislatures study showed that more than 600 bills were introduced across America in 2016 that dealt with standardized student testing and teacher evaluation. That’s a drop from the more than 700 that were proposed in 2015, but 100 times more than the six similar pieces of legislation that were introduced in 2011.
 
Again, Missouri Legislature fails to fund roads
Quincy Herald Whig
Other states facing the same dilemma have acted. Eight -- Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah and Washington -- passed legislation raising their gas taxes in 2015, as did nine other states over the previous two years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Bag fee bill meets with resistance in Delaware
Delaware State News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “a de facto statewide ban exists in Hawaii as all of the most populous counties in the state prohibit non-biodegradable plastic bags at checkout, as well as paper bags containing less than 40 percent recycled material.”
  
Expanded gambling a panacea for Pennsylvania's budget problems?
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Online gambling is currently legal in Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware, as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands. Proposals to legalize the activity are also pending in California, Massachusetts, Michigan and New York, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Wendy Davis wrongly says Texas among states with no 'equal pay' law
PolitiFact
By email, Nieto directed us to a July 2015 chart summarizing state "equal pay" laws posted by the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures, which says it strives to improve the "quality and effectiveness" of the nation’s state legislatures.
 
Louisiana set to give police hate-crime shield
The Philadelphia Tribune
Lawmakers in five other states have recently tried to pass similar so-called Blue Lives Matter bills, but each effort stalled, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
An Increasingly Popular Way To Fund Universities Makes No Sense, Report Says
ThinkProgress
As of July 2015, 32 states had some kind of performance-based funding in place, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

May 27

States that tie higher education funding to performance have it all wrong, report says
Washington Post
“There is a real concern that too many students are falling through the cracks. States have also had to struggle to keep up the pace of funding over the years with tight budgets, requirements to fund healthcare and prisons,” said Julie Bell, education program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. She added: “States have been looking for a different approach to funding higher education. Legislators find performance-based funding appealing because it balances one of their most significant levers, which is funding, with one of their most significant responsibility, which is accountability.”
 
This case may help states gain billions in tax dollars from online companies
PBS Newshour
A 2012 estimate pegs the losses at $11 billion annually, according to research from the University of Tennessee and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). “What makes the South Dakota bill so interesting is that they basically put an entire legal brief in the bill,” said Max Behlke with NCSL. “You’re talking about some of the most innovative tech companies in the world, and they don’t have the technology to do this?” Behlke said. “And they say, ‘Well, we do, but we’re worried about the small guys.’ But the small guys are selling on their sites.”
 
11 states could regulate daily fantasy sports by year's end
Boston.com
Thirty-five states have introduced legislation addressing daily fantasy sports, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
North Dakota Company Settles Racial Discrimination Suit for $250K
Insurance Journal
In a court filing last year, the company denied the allegations and maintained that Clark was an “at-will” employee, meaning he could be fired at any time. Under U.S. labor law, an at-will employee can be dismissed without warning for any reason other than an illegal one, unless the presumption is modified by an employment contract, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Michigan moves to lead driverless car testing
The Detroit News
Michigan is one of seven states and Washington, D.C. that have enacted laws for testing autonomous cars, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signs new 'Blue Lives Matter' hate crime law, nation’s first
The Advocate
According to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures, no state has gone so far as to include law enforcement or firefighters among protected classes in hate crime laws.
 
Madigan spending plan shows need for real balanced-budget rules
Illinois Policy
The research on this topic is unsurprisingly clear. States with rigorous balanced budget requirements are more likely to balance their budgets, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

May 26

11 states could regulate daily fantasy sports by year's end
Washington Times
Thirty-five states have introduced legislation addressing daily fantasy sports, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Michigan moves to lead driverless car testing
The Detroit News
Michigan is one of seven states and Washington, D.C., that have enacted laws for testing autonomous cars, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. State laws allow for varying levels of testing and deployment. For example, Florida law — enacted in April — eliminates the need for a driver to be present and eliminates the requirement that autonomous vehicle operation be for testing purposes.

Police Are Tracking Your Car With This Technology Even If You've Done Nothing Wrong
International Business Times
License plate reader bills were either introduced or are currently pending in at least 18 states this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. And in October 2015, California enacted legislation that specifically guided how the police can use data. Specifically, California will allow police to hold the data for no more than 60 days, "unless the data is being used as evidence or for the investigation of felonies." 

Williston company settles federal racial discrimination suit
Virginian-Pilot
Under U.S. labor law, an at-will employee can be dismissed without warning for any reason other than an illegal one, unless the presumption is modified by an employment contract, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Colorado voters gambled on pot and TABOR, but will they go for single-payer health care?
Colorado Springs Independent
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states allow a direct initiative process to change their laws, meaning citizens can petition proposals that go directly to the ballot (instead of passing through or being tied in some way to the state legislature). Of those, 16 states have a direct initiative process to amend their state constitutions, and 14 states have the same process to amend their state statutes. Colorado has both.

Reboot of ISTEP underway
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Lee Posey, federal affairs counsel from National Conference of State Legislatures, said the state’s education waiver ends in July and full implementation of any new plan would be for the 2017-18 school year.

Marijuana charges against rapper Twista, others dropped
WLKY Louisville
Pennsylvania recently became the 24th U.S. state to legalize medical marijuana. Take a look at which states currently allow marijuana for recreational and/or medicinal purposes, compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

National briefs for Thursday
Daily Herald
Lawmakers in five other states have recently tried to pass similar so-called Blue Lives Matter bills, but each effort stalled, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

May 25

Louisiana Set to Expand Hate-Crimes Laws to Include Police
ABC News
Lawmakers in five other states have recently tried to pass similar so-called Blue Lives Matter bills, but each effort stalled, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Prop. 50 is a step forward to make Legislature more responsive
Sacramento Bee
This authority would not be unique to California. The National Conference of State Legislatures says the power to discipline and expel members is a staple of American democracy.
 
Ohio may get online voter registration in 2017
Dayton Daily News
Ohio is lagging behind 31 states and the District of Columbia, which already offer online registration, and six other states have have passed bills to create such systems but have not yet implemented them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Five Years Later, Voter ID Suit Still Moving Forward
Texas Tribune
Across the country, 34 states have passed laws requiring voters to show some form of identification, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Texas is among nine states categorized as requiring "strict photo ID," and its list of acceptable forms is the shortest.

Redrawing America: Why Gerrymandering Matters
Harvard Political Review
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in 2014 Republicans won 948 more state legislative seats than Democrats nationwide. Yet in state after state, from Pennsylvania to Michigan to North Carolina, Democratic candidates actually won more total votes than their Republican opponents.

Court of Appeals hears woman's appeal of feticide conviction
Indiana Lawyer
At least 38 states have fetal homicide laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Rescissions Could Cost Highway Fund Billions
Construction Equipment Guide
The May 11 letters were signed by the executive directors of the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

May 24

GOP sues to block Virginia governor's order letting 200000 felons vote
UPI.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, felons in two states -- Maine and Vermont -- never lose their right to vote even while incarcerated. Florida and Iowa felons permanently lose their right to vote although Florida, like Virginia, allow gubernatorial pardons.
 
Indiana court to hear woman's appeal of feticide conviction
Chico Enterprise-Record
At least 38 states have fetal homicide laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
  
Texas police say criminals often using imitation guns
Indiana Gazette
Ten other states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., also have passed legislation regarding imitation firearms, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Texas is not among them.
 
Bill introduced would allow molested kids to sue perpetrators anytime
Pacific Daily News
The National Conference of State Legislatures lists various states that allow the filing of civil lawsuits retroactively, including in California, where actions for the recovery of damages suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse may begin on or after the victim’s 26th birthday. In the District of Columbia, if the victim was a minor when the injury occurred, he or she may bring the action within three years of his or her 18th birthday, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

May 23

Making Democrats' primaries more open could be harder than you ...
NPR
There are four basic camps that existing primaries fit into. Open and closed are self-explanatory, and there are several different variations of hybrid primaries. Some states allow independents to vote in either the Democratic or Republican primary, but block party members from crossing over.
"Or, sometimes it may mean that an unaffiliated voter goes to a polling place, decides to vote in a party primary, and that choice of ballot then registers them with that party," said Dan Diorio, of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

This state is about to become the first where targeting police is a hate crime
Washington Post
No other state includes police officers as a protected class under hate-crime laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But at least 37 states - including Louisiana - have enhanced penalties for assaulting police officers.

Texas Police Say Criminals Often Using Imitation Weapons
ABC News
Ten other states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. also have passed legislation regarding imitation firearms, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Texas is not among them.

Term limits don't actually shorten legislators' service – but they do frustrate many
The Missoulian
“I believe the trend was driven by people who wanted to ensure our democracy was citizen-driven and not done by professionals,” said Wendy Underhill, director of elections and redistricting at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “In the end, it’s not at all clear that having term limits has had that effect.”
  
Mich. lawmakers take aim at school expulsions, suspensions
Detroit Free Press
Joellen Kralik, a research analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said a growing number of states are using restorative practices in schools. She said there's "a good amount of evidence" that they are effective at reducing problem behaviors, reducing suspensions and expulsions, and improving academic performance.
 
Hot-potato pay raise for Ohio lawmakers: Thomas Suddes
cleveland.com
True, the legislative branch of Ohio's government is a relative bargain. The nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, albeit in 2011, using data now possibly stale, reported that of the nation's 50 legislatures, Ohio's General Assembly was cheapest, measured as a percentage of each state's "general government" spending. (Most expensive: Alaska's legislature; No. 2, Rhode Island's; No. 3, Pennsylvania's – which, plainly stated, is infamous.)
 
Indiana appeals court to hear Granger woman's feticide case
South Bend Tribune
At least 38 states have fetal homicide laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But the Patel case was the first time a state feticide law has been used against a woman specifically because of "an alleged self-induced abortion," said Jill E. Adams, executive director of the abortion rights advocacy group Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice.
 
State's medical pot legalization excites researchers
Scranton Times-Tribune
For example, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ review of state laws, Pennsylvania is the first state to explicitly stipulate autism as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana (Delaware allows it, but only with “aggressive and self-injurious behavior”). 
 
Bill would let Narragansett Indians grow hemp
Tulsa Native American Times
The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 28 states have laws in place related to industrial hemp.

Louisiana poised to make targeting police a hate crime
Bangor Daily News
No other state includes police officers as a protected class under hate-crime laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But at least 37 states — including Louisiana — have enhanced penalties for assaulting police officers.
 
Indiana court to hear woman's appeal of feticide conviction
Columbia Daily Tribune
At least 38 states have fetal homicide laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But the Patel case was the first time a state feticide law has been used against a woman specifically because of “an alleged self-induced abortion,” said Jill Adams, executive director of the abortion rights advocacy group Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice.

Sen. Bernadine L. Craft Will Not Seek Reelection
SweetwaterNOW.com
Her standing committees are the Joint Committee on Labor, Health and Social Services and the Joint Committee on Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources. She also serves on the Select Committees on Tribal Relations and Archaic Laws as well as on the Dept. of Family Services Advisory Council and the Wyoming Humanities Council. She serves on the Health and Human Services Committee for both the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Council of State Governments (West), where she is also a member of the Finance Committee.

E-cigarette tax may be new fix as tobacco money goes up in smoke
West Hawaii Today
“Will there be more legislation? Most likely, yes,” said Karmen Hanson, a health policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “I would anticipate if a state has already tried it, they’ll come back and try again.”
 
Closure of juvenile center reveals Minnesota's lack of adequate ...
Minnesota Public Radio News
Abderholden cited statistics from the National Conference of State Legislatures that say 70 percent of the kids in the juvenile justice system have one or more mental health diagnoses.
   
That plastic bag is going to cost you, NJ bill says
NJ.com
Only California has enacted a statewide ban on plastic bags, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Hawaii has a de facto state ban because every county has adopted the policy.

These Haunting Portraits Tell the Stories of Teen Mothers Around ...
Yahoo News
While Ana is struggling to balance motherhood with school, most teen mothers around the world don't even manage to complete high school. In the United States, for instance, only 40% of teen moms graduate from high school, according to the National Conference of State Legislature. 

May 20

Handicapping the 2016 State Legislative Races
Governing
Either way, a lot depends on who ultimately wins the presidency. That person, said Tim Storey, a longtime elections analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, has a good shot at getting a boost in legislative elections. In the 29 elections since 1900, the party winning the White House has gained seats in 21 of them. The average gain during a presidential year is 192 seats nationally. "The top of the ticket really matters," Storey said.
 
That plastic bag is going to cost you, NJ bill says
NJ.com
Only California has enacted a statewide ban on plastic bags, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Hawaii has a de facto state ban because every county has adopted the policy.

Future of Illinois' daily fantasy sports bill unclear after Senate approval
Peoria Journal Star
In March, the governors of Virginia and Indiana signed legislation to regulate the industry. Kansas has also legalized daily fantasy sports. In all, 35 states have introduced legislation addressing daily fantasy sports, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Why synthetic drug busts are so rare
Christian Science Monitor
"Since 2011 all 50 states have banned two types of the synthetic drugs – cannabinoids (a.k.a. 'synthetic marijuana,' 'Spice,' or 'K2') and cathinones (a.k.a. 'bath salts') – with the majority doing so via legislation," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Must a Fair Harvard be Free?
Yale Politics
President Barack Obama has tried to push in that direction with the America’s College Promise Act, which gives incentives for states to offer free community college to eligible students. Currently three states, Tennessee, Minnesota, and Oregon, have adopted the policy, and, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, legislation is pending in ten more.
 
Ypsilanti City Council expresses opposition to 'attack' on state's solar energy industry
MLive.com
Michigan is one of 44 states that uses a net metering program, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and a 2015 Michigan Public Service Commission report found 1,840 customers statewide using net metering.

May 19

E-Cigarette Tax May Be New Fix as Tobacco Money Goes Up in Smoke
Bloomberg
“Will there be more legislation? Most likely, yes,” said Karmen Hanson, a health policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “I would anticipate if a state has already tried it, they’ll come back and try again.”
 
Judge strikes blow to Kansas' voter ID requirements
CNN International
Kansas is one of several states that have enacted laws requiring voters to prove their citizenship. Nine other states have "strict" photo identification voter laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Fact check: would Trump 'force schools to allow guns'?
NOLA.com
In 2013 alone, at least 33 states introduced more than 80 bills to authorize school districts to allow certain teachers and staff to carry concealed firearms, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Since 2013, more states have considered laws allowing guns on college campuses
 
Ben & Jerry's takes their political fight to North Carolina with new ice cream flavor 'Empower Mint'
Boston.com
The 2013 decision aided a wave of states, including North Carolina, which had recently and have since continued to enact stricter voter ID requirements, as detailed by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Civil rights advocates say the laws suppress poor and minority voters, many of whom do not own photo IDs, while researchers at the Brennan Center for Justice say voter fraud and impersonation, the stated target of voter ID laws, are “very rare” and “nearly nonexistent,” respectively.

10 States With the Most Identity Theft
24/7 Wall St.
The average amount stolen from victims of fraud also came from the FTC. Fines and penalties for identity theft in each state came from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
'Blue Lives Matter' bill heading to governor's desk
Houma Courier
Its passage would make Louisiana among the first states to provide the new protected class to first responders, according to information compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Do preregistration laws improve voter turnout among young adults?
Journalist's Resource
States vary in terms of their preregistration age limits, but 11 states, including California, Colorado and Louisiana, allow U.S. citizens as young as 16 years old to sign up, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Energy Department Launches Five New Solar Ready Vets Training Locations
Breaking Energy
National Conference of State Legislatures (Denver, CO) will receive $950,615 to develop a solar training program for state regulators, legislators, and energy officers using traditional instruction, interactive games and simulations, and peer exchange.
  
Clinton campaign's claim that Trump would 'force schools to allow guns in classrooms
Norwich Bulletin
In 2013 alone, at least 33 states introduced more than 80 bills to authorize school districts to allow certain teachers and staff to carry concealed firearms, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Since 2013, more states have considered laws allowing guns on college campuses.
 
Safe Driving Pays: How One Teen Won $5000 For A Digital Short Against Distracted Driving
NJ.com
CTIA worked with the DOT, AAA, Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention, International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Conference of State Legislatures and other organizations by drafting model legislation for states that bans manual texting while driving. CTIA continues to encourage states across the country to pass this important legislation.

Voting Helped Her "Get One Step Closer To Feeling Normal"
Refinery29
People who are convicted of serious crimes have long been denied equal access to voting booths. The concept of disenfranchisement based on criminal records dates back to ancient Greece, as the National Conference of State Legislatures notes. 
 
Officials: Overdose witnesses can call 911 without arrest
Lowell Sun
Massachusetts is one of 35 states with a law that protects people who call 911 to report a possible drug overdose, according to the National Conference of State Legislature

Billboards aim to cut deaths by opioid overdose
Sentinel & Enterprise
Massachusetts is one of 35 states with a law that protects people who call 911 to report a possible drug overdose, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the State House News Service reported.

May 18

Rebuilding America won't be easy
CNBC
Last year, eight states — Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah and Washington — passed legislation to increase gas taxes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and two more states — Kentucky and North Carolina — moved to limit declines in gas taxes from lower pump prices. Several other states are considering boosting gasoline taxes.
 
Malloy signs medical marijuana for minors bill
The CT Mirror
Connecticut is one of 23 states – along with Washington, D.C., and Guam – that had a “comprehensive” medical marijuana program, but the only one that did not allow any access to it for minors, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.
 
'Blue Lives Matter' bill heading to Gov. John Bel Edwards
The Advocate
Its passage would make Louisiana among the first states to provide the new protected class to first responders, according to information compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
New state campaign urges overdose witnesses to call 911
Wicked Local
Massachusetts is one of 35 states with a law that protects people who call 911 to report a possible drug overdose, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Rep. Combs invited to tout KY'ss new P3 law at several national ...
Hazard Herald
Several weeks after the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) named her to a steering committee that will promote the economic-development tool across the country, several other organizations have invited her to speak at their conferences throughout the summer.

AG and Gov. Baker announce new campaign to encourage 911 ...
Sentinel & Enterprise
Massachusetts is one of 35 states with a law that protects people who call 911 to report a possible drug overdose, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
If MN Raises Tab Fees For Transportation, How Does It Work And ...
Twin Cities Business Magazine
Montana has a similar system to Minnesota, requiring a $217 tab fee for cars under four years old. Those fees steadily go down to $28 a year for cars that are more than 11 years old. The National Conference of State Legislatures has a full breakdown of how other states handle tab fees.

May 17

Missouri, and why voter ID laws might be here to stay
Washington Post
In 2012, there were 29 states with voter ID laws, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures; in 2016, there will be 33. At least nine states will have strict voter ID laws in place, which essentially means it's harder to vote if you don't have a photo ID.
   
US Government Bans Vaping E-Cigarette Sales To Minors
NewsWorms
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, prohibiting the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors is something at least 48 states have already done - including NY and California. 
 
Fort Lauderdale ranked 7th among best cities for summer jobs
Sun Sentinel
For the rankings, data was collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Manpower Group, Indeed.com, Internships.com, Department of Housing and Urban Development, National Conference of State Legislatures, Center for Neighborhood Technology and WalletHub research.
 
There's no reason to shut off recordings in Augusta, make government less open
Bangor Daily News
All states offer live audio or video webcasts of legislative floor proceedings, and 41 states archive them. Of the 41 states that provide webcasts of legislative committee meetings, 35 archive them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Indiana governor's race fueled by donors skirting set limits
Terre Haute Tribune Star
Pence and Gregg are following the path of many Indiana candidates who have raised large amounts from LLCs and PACs over the past several elections. Indiana is among 13 states that don't limit the campaign contributions from such groups or individuals, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

May 16

Tattoos have gone mainstream, but they still carry risks
USA TODAY
The National Conference of State Legislatures maintains a list of state laws online. Check with your local or county health department for additional rules.

Bills aim to catch up with Uber, Lyft
NorthJersey.com
The Senate bill is more in line with the laws in 35 states that have adopted some form of ride-hailing legislation. None require fingerprinting, said Douglas Shinkle, transportation program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. However, he said that could change now that some cities, including New York and Houston, have adopted the fingerprinting requirement and others, like Atlanta and Los Angeles, have discussed doing so. Shinkle said most state legislatures had reacted quickly to the fast-emerging ride-hailing businesses. “They just wanted the basic regulatory framework in place in recognizing the kind of value of these transportation services,” Shinkle said.

Taxes Increasingly Part of Fantasy Sports Debate
State Net Capitol Journal
“You can’t tax something if it’s not legal, and states right now are mostly [debating], ‘What is this? Is it legal?’” said Max Behlke, who tracks tax issues for the National Conference of State Legislatures. “This wasn’t on anybody’s radar until about September of last year. During our fall meeting, lawmakers were still asking what this was.... I think next year, now that they have their heads wrapped around it, I think we’re going to see a whole array of taxes or fees.” Several states are also weighing whether to bar amateur sports stats from being part of fantasy games, said Behlke’s colleague at NCSL, Jake Lestock, who has been tracking the daily fantasy sports debate. “That’s another thing most states are going to have to be looking into,” Lestock said. “Indiana was the first state to make it illegal to do contests on amateur sports, most likely because the NCAA is based there.”  

Number of women, Hispanics lag in Tallahassee
Orlando Sentinel
"One of the big arguments in favor of term limits was that it would increase the number of women and the number of minorities who would serve in state legislatures. It turns out ... it's made almost no difference at all," said Karl Kurtz, a former director of the National Conference of State Legislatures, which issued a report on the demographics of state houses in December.

Legislature's ethics reform not the overhaul many had hoped it would be
Springfield News-Leader
Missouri would be following a nationwide trend if it adopted the requirement. Thirty-four states have some form of photo identification law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Researchers hoping to use grasses as fuel
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier
She also presented butterfly research at a national conference and at an Iowa Academy of Science event at Grandview University in Des Moines. "So I've exposed a lot of people to our project."

Schapiro: US Senate vacancy risky for Va. Democrats
Richmond.com
Virginia is one of 36 states where a Senate vacancy is filled by a gubernatorial appointment until the next general election, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The remaining 14 states require a special election to fill a vacancy. Four states prohibit the governor from making an interim appointment, requiring that the Senate seat remain open until the next election.

Legislature's ethics reform not the overhaul many had hoped it would be
Springfield News-Leader
Missouri would be following a nationwide trend if it adopted the requirement. Thirty-four states have some form of photo identification law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Craving a life without labels or limits
The Hornet
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the poverty threshold for a family of six is $32,580 in 2016. My family lingered just below $30,000 last year.

Schapiro: US Senate vacancy risky for Va. Democrats
Richmond.com
Virginia is one of 36 states where a Senate vacancy is filled by a gubernatorial appointment until the next general election, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The remaining 14 states require a special election to fill a vacancy. Four states prohibit the governor from making an interim appointment, requiring that the Senate seat remain open until the next election.

New Kansas laws deal with pot penalties, abortion, tanning
Kansas City Star
The National Conference of State Legislatures says more than a dozen other states also prohibit minors from using tanning devices.

California ranks 20th on list of states with the most women in politics
San Jose Mercury News
With gender-focused narratives dominating national headlines, Graphiq politics site InsideGov decided to investigate female representation in politics on a state level. Using data from the National Conference of State Legislatures, InsideGov ranked the 25 states with the highest percentage of women in elected office. The data, as of March 2016, counts how many women hold elected office in each state's House and Senate and finds a percentage based on the total number of seats in both chambers. When necessary, InsideGov broke ranking ties by the total number of women legislators, and then alphabetically.

Kansas minors will be barred from tanning salons under a measure approved by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback
Daily Journal
The National Conference of State Legislatures says more than a dozen other states also prohibit minors from using tanning devices.

Mother: 'It's about time' schools are safe for trans students
The News Journal
So far this year, 18 states have considered legislation similar to the law passed in North Carolina, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but it remains the only state to have actually passed it. South Dakota got a bill through both chambers before it was vetoed by the governor.

Baker moves to control professional boards
Gloucester Daily Times
Since the Supreme Court ruling, legislation to exert more control over independent licensing boards has been introduced in least six other states, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.

Baker moves to control professional board
Gloucester Daily Times
Since the Supreme Court ruling, legislation to exert more control over independent licensing boards has been introduced in least six other states, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.

Methodist Healthcare's $280 million Memphis project arrives as “need” regulation exits
Memphis Commercial Appeal
and construction, federal law by 1974 required certificate of need programs in all states. However, the federal mandate was lifted in 1987 and 14 states erased their programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

How One Company is Changing the Game for STEM Education
ECNmag.com
Moore: The lack of college readiness and the reality of poor student outcomes in math and science are the biggest challenges in STEM education today. According to the National Conference on State Legislatures, only 27 percent of students enrolled in remedial math earn a bachelor’s degree. 

The hockey legacy of Jim Metzen
Let's Play Hockey.com
Quoted in 2014 by the National Conference of State Legislatures, Sen. Jim Metzen said, “I tried to be fair and inclusive and serve the entire Senate on both sides of the aisle. I would often let my Republican colleagues participate and even appointed them to chair committees.”

La. Bill Makes Targeting Police, First Responders a Hate Crime
EMSWorld
According to data the National Conference of State Legislatures provided to The Advocate last month, no state has gone so far as to include law enforcement or firefighters among protected classes in hate crime laws.

May 13

Bad roads, bridges could pare $4T from GDP in a decade
CNBC
Last year, eight states — Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah and Washington — passed legislation to increase gas taxes, according to the National Conference of State legislatures and two more states — Kentucky and North Carolina — moved to limit declines in gas taxes from lower pump prices. Several other states are considering boosting gasoline taxes.
 
Study: Autism Insurance Mandates Are 'Necessary But Not Sufficient'
Governing
That could have cost implications, too. Insurance plans have argued that mandates could drive up premiums. So far, they’ve resulted in increases of about 1 percent, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but those could grow if plans cover more services or autism rates keep climbing.

What is kratom? Alabama latest state to ban plant-derived drug
AL.com
Five other states have passed laws effectively banning kratom, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Arkansas, Tennessee, Vermont and Wisconsin have passed laws classifying the ingredients in kratom as controlled substances. An Indiana law classifies kratom as a synthetic drug, according to the NCSL. Illinois and Louisiana have passed laws prohibiting kratom sales to minors, according to the NCSL.
 
Hundreds of newly eligible 17-year-olds register for voting
Santa Fe New Mexican
New Mexico follows Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Nevada and Wyoming, all of which have approved similar laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. New Mexico’s law for 17-year-old voters comes during a presidential election year, when voters typically turn out in greater numbers than in mid-term elections.
  
Indiana governor's race fueled by donors skirting set limits
The Herald
Pence and Gregg are following the path of many Indiana candidates who have raised large amounts from LLCs and PACs over the past several elections. Indiana is among 13 states that don't limit the campaign contributions from such groups or individuals, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Bill lets bankrupt SC residents hold on to $5000 worth of guns
The Herald
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 14 states already exempt firearms from bankruptcy collections, though the specifics vary widely.

RI considers 'right to try' experimental drugs
WPRI-TV
The National Conference of State Legislatures says more than half of states now have similar laws on the books but no one’s tracking if patients have taken advantage of them.

May 12

Democrats Counting on `Trump Effect' to Help Retake Statehouses
Bloomberg
Twelve governorships are on the November ballot, with three Democrats and three Republicans seeking re-election, and six offices that will be open. About 80 percent of the 7,383 legislative seats in the U.S. are on the ballot, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Republicans control all but 30 of the 99 state House and Senate chambers, the most ever.
 
Police Departments Face A Crucial Question: How To Pay For Body Cameras?
International Business Times
Still, because body cameras have gained so much popularity, especially with legislators, many states have enacted police body camera legislation. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 23 states have adopted laws concerning police body cameras. Those laws don’t necessarily force municipalities to buy cameras; rather, they create regulations that govern their usage if and when they are implemented. State legislation, however, doesn’t always keep up with the realities of local municipal budgets.
 
State Insurance Mandates For Autism Treatment Fall Short
NPR
Insurance plans have argued that mandates could drive up premiums. So far, they've resulted in increases of about 1 percent, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but those could grow if plans cover more services or autism rates keep climbing.
 
Missouri wants to make it really hard to view police camera footage
New York Post
So far in 2016, Florida, Indiana, Utah and Washington state as well as the District of Columbia have enacted laws governing the use of body cameras, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Twenty-three states have passed laws for body cameras, the group said.
 
Creative Wayts Couples Pay for In Vitro Fertilization
Huffington Post
RESOLVE reports that the average cost of one IVF cycle to be about $12,400. and much of this has to be paid out of pocket by couples since according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only 13 states have laws that require insurance companies to pay for infertility treatments.
  
State wants to close online sales tax loophole
Enid News & Eagle
Max Behlke, manager of state-federal relations with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said some online retailers find it easier to collect taxes than deal with the hassle of sending annual statements to each customer.
  
Hawaii Becomes the First State to Help Farms Certify as Organic
Valley News
“Hawaii is pretty well-known in agriculture policy as being in the forefront or looking at things differently,” said Doug Farquhar, director of agriculture for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

DEA red tape holds up Nebraska hemp research
Lincoln Journal Star
At least 28 states, including Nebraska, have adopted laws related to industrial hemp ranging from preliminary studies of the industry to authorization of commercial industrial programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Federal, state lawmakers move to curb police use of cellphone trackers
Christian Science Monitor
By 2014, 10 states had passed similar legislation. They were joined by California and Washington state last year, according to Rich Williams, a criminal justice policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Stingray legislation is currently pending in Illinois and Rhode Island. And in March, a Maryland appeals court ruled that police in that state need to get a warrant before tracking a suspect's cellphone location.
 
With fresh memories of end-of-session chaos, Minnesota lawmakers look to learn from other states
MinnPost
The most striking example — offered up by experts from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a non-governmental group that studies state governing bodies — was that of Utah, which requires state legislators to agree on about 95 percent of the state’s annual budget within the first 15 days of session. What’s more, every single member of the House and Senate in Utah plays some role in the joint finance committee that approves most of the budget. Without the House and Senate joint-budgeting process early on, “other states said it would be fairly difficult for them to imagine getting it done in the efficient matter,” said Arturo Perez, fiscal affairs program director for the NCSL.  
 
Baker moves to control professional boards
Eagle-Tribune
Since the Supreme Court ruling, legislation to exert more control over independent licensing boards has been introduced in least six other states, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.
 
Medical marijuana expansion bill goes before full House of representatives for vote Wednesday
WDSU New Orleans
Pennsylvania recently became the 24th U.S. state to legalize medical marijuana. Take a look at which states currently allow marijuana for recreational and/or medicinal purposes, compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
California ranks 20th on list of states with the most women in politics
San Jose Mercury News
With gender-focused narratives dominating national headlines, Graphiq politics site InsideGov decided to investigate female representation in politics on a state level. Using data from the National Conference of State Legislatures, InsideGov ranked the 25 states with the highest percentage of women in elected office. 
 
Questions Emerge About The Impact Of State Autism Insurance Mandates
Kaiser Health News
That could have cost implications, too. Insurance plans have argued that mandates could drive up premiums. So far, they’ve resulted in increases of about 1 percent, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but those could grow if plans cover more services or autism rates keep climbing.
 
Georgia Governor Vetoes Campus-Carry Bill
Fait-Religieux
According the National Conference of State Legislatures, 23 states leave the decision to ban or allow weapons up to the individual colleges and universities, and 19 states - still including Georgia - now ban concealed weapons on campuses.
 
Rep. Gene Pelowski: 4000 bills in Minnesota Legislature? It's time for change
Winona Daily News
The hearings were open to every member of the House. Testimony was taken from National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL), Revisor’s Office, Government Relations representatives, legislators, the public and the Minnesota Newspaper Association. Working with a representative of NCSL comparing Minnesota’s legislative process to the other 49 states, a series of proposed recommendations were made in a report to the House. The full report can be accessed on the House web site at:

May 11

New Law Could Mean More Uber Drivers In Iowa
Iowa Public Radio
According to the National Council of State Legislatures, 34 other states have enacted similar legislation.
"Statehouses have really moved fast on this issue," says NCSL Transportation Program Director Douglas Shinkle. "To go from zero states to 35 is really a testament to the level of market penetration that these services have in the United States, and how quickly that’s ramped up, and really their popularity and their ubiquity." Shinkle adds he wouldn't be surprised if some states craft further refinements  as more is learned about how ride sourcing is used and operates.
 
Missouri lawmakers pass bill to restrict viewing of police camera footage
Reuters
So far in 2016, Florida, Indiana, Utah and Washington state as well as the District of Columbia have enacted laws governing the use of body cameras, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Twenty-three states have passed laws for body cameras, the group said.
 
When do fetuses feel pain? Question puts Utah abortion law and doctors at odds
Los Angeles Times
Bramble is president of the National Conference of State Legislatures, and said he had been contacted by lawmakers in other states who want to propose similar laws.

State lawmakers weigh raising reimbursements
News & Observer
Citing analysis from the National Conference of State Legislatures, Hartsell noted that North Carolina salaries, per diems and reimbursements have lagged significantly behind inflation.
 
Will One State Determine the Fate of Internet Sales Tax Nationwide?
Government Technology
All told, 34 bills in 22 states have been introduced this year that would let states collect sales taxes from remote retailers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). About a half-dozen of those bills have moved forward in some fashion.
 
'Blue Lives Matter' bill nearing final passage in Louisiana, would create hate crime of targeting cops
The New Orleans Advocate
According to data the National Conference of State Legislatures provided to The Advocate last month, no state has gone so far as to include law enforcement or firefighters among protected classes in hate crime laws.
  
Hawaii aims to be first to help farmers get certified organic
Honolulu Star-Advertiser
“Hawaii is pretty well-known in agriculture policy as being in the forefront or looking at things differently,” said Doug Farquhar, director of agriculture for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Senate Votes to Stop Local Bans on Plastic Bags
Patch.com
The proposed Muskegon County plastic bag ban would also impose a fee on retailers, who are fighting back against the plastic bag bans, already in place statewide in California and in Hawaii’s largest counties, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.
 
Hawaii plan would offset cost of organic farm certification
Daily Mining Gazette
That may change under a bill passed by the Hawaii Legislature, which sets up tax breaks for Hawaii farmers to offset the cost of becoming certified as organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Hawaii is the first state to pass such a law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Ohio panel moves to delay online voter signup until 2017
WANE
The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 31 states offer online voter registration.
 
Illinois targets police use of cellphone ‘stingray’ tracking
Crains Chicago Business
Congress has a pending bill on Stingrays, and California, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Virginia are among the 12 states that have passed laws addressing the technology, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Last week, Connecticut lawmakers sent the governor legislation that restricts the devices' use.

May 10

Hawaii Plan Would Offset Cost of Organic Farm Certification
ABC News
That may change under a bill passed by the Hawaii Legislature, which sets up tax breaks for Hawaii farmers to offset the cost of becoming certified as organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Hawaii is the first state to pass such a law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. "Hawaii is pretty well known in agriculture policy as being in the forefront or looking at things differently," said Doug Farquhar, director of agriculture for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Many states have OK'd two budgets while Illinois fails to finish one
Chicago Daily Herald
Eleven states have approved two state budgets in the time Illinois has failed to finish one, according to research from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Plastic bags fuel tug of war between state, locals
Detroit Free Press
California was the first state to enact a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags that went into effect last summer, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And all the big counties in Hawaii have imposed bans. Other states have developed plans to reduce the use of plastic bags.
 
Mail-in ballots continue to be popular locally
The Salinas Californian
The following information is from the National Conference of State Legislatures: Early Voting: In 37 states (including 3 that mail ballots to all voters) and the District of Columbia, any qualified voter may cast a ballot in person during a designated period prior to Election Day. No excuse or justification is required.
 
City Club of Chicago: The Current State of the Illinois Budget
WGN Radio
She was appointed to the National Health Care Committee of the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) in Washington D.C. She is presently serving as the Midwest Director for the national group, Women in Government and she chaired the Conference of Women Legislators in Springfield, a bi-partisan group of all women legislators.
 
$15-per-hour proposal in Cleveland 'most aggressive' increase in US?
PolitiFact
This is a departure from the way other states and cities have imposed new minimum wage hikes, according to Allison Laffen, a policy associate with the National Conference of State Legislatures, which studies state labor and wage policies.
 
Sexism is part of the job for many female Ohio lawmakers
cleveland.com
That's roughly on par with other legislatures around the country -- at the start of this year's legislative session, women made up 24.5 percent of state legislatures nationwide, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
College Affordability Diagnosis presents sobering picture of higher ed
Education Dive
Julie Davis Bell, education program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures, calls these findings among the most important to come out of the recent College Affordability Diagnosis, produced by the Institute for Research on Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, and the Higher Education Policy Institute. “Two-year institutions are no longer the affordable options for many students,” Davis Bell said at a recent conference for journalists. “For the longest time, legislators and other state policymakers felt that if they could preserve two-year institutions as that safety net for low-income students, they’re in good shape.”

May 9

New Jersey Is in a Pickle Over Pork Sandwich
Wall Street Journal
School groups tend to propose official state symbols as a civic exercise, and their recommendations are then taken up by lawmakers, said Kae Warnock, a policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures. But state legislators are getting more proactive. Lawmakers say it is a tasty way to promote a state industry or tradition. Sometimes, though, such efforts make people salty. 
 
A jaunt through TRUMP's Revere -- MassGOP's legislative concessions
Politico
TODAY -- US Attorney Carmen Ortiz delivers the keynote speech at the Network in Women’s Solidarity’s women’s conference at the State House this morning -- The National Conference of State Legislatures holds a web conference on combating opioid addiction -- Attorney General Maura Healey speaks about LGBTQ concerns at an event tonight with Greater Boston PFLAG. 
 
Legislatures seek limits on phone-tracking technology
Herald & Review
Congress has a pending bill on Stingrays, and California, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Virginia are among the 12 states that have passed laws addressing the technology, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Last week, Connecticut lawmakers sent the governor legislation that restricts the devices' use.

Despite Progress, Lead Exposure Problems Persist in Twin States
Valley News
Currently, 44 states have laws to regulate lead hazards, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

FDA will require e-cigarettes and contents to be reviewed
The Indian Panorama
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, prohibiting the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors is something at least 48 states have already done - including NY and California. 
 
Americans are divided on issue of whether to allow guns on campus
China Post
Under the leadership of the gun lobby, at least 19 states introduced legislation to allow the concealed carrying of guns on campus in 2013, and at least 14 states introduced similar legislation in 2014, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). But only a couple of those bills were passed and enacted, it said.
 
Illinois legislatures seek limits on phone-tracking technology
WLS-TV
Congress has a pending bill on Stingrays, and California, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Virginia are among the 12 states that have passed laws addressing the technology, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Last week, Connecticut lawmakers sent the governor legislation that restricts the devices' use.
 
State CIOs stress FirstNet, cybersecurity in DC lobbying
FedScoop
She added that there are meetings with the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Governors Association and National Association of State Budget Officers on the agenda, as part of a broader effort to build bridges between the CIOs and their state government contacts.
 
Voters have crushed out cigarette taxes
Claremore Daily Progress
Of three states that put a cigarette tax on the ballot in the past decade, only South Dakota’s voters signed off, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. Proposals failed in Oregon and Missouri. 
 
Georgia governor defies party politics with pair of vetoes
The Atlanta Voice
Nine states have laws on the books allowing concealed handguns on campus: Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin. According the National Conference of State Legislatures, 23 states leave the decision to ban or allow weapons up to the individual colleges and universities, and 19 states _ still including Georgia _ ban concealed weapons on campuses.
 
The “Speed” of Technology Leads to Litigation
Lexology (registration)
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 46 States now prohibit all drivers from text messaging while driving. 
 
Missouri legislature passes photo ID requirement for voters
Columbia Daily Tribune
If the measure becomes law, Missouri would join 17 other states that require a photo ID to vote, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Legislatures seek limits on phone-tracking technology
The News Tribune
Congress has a pending bill on Stingrays, and California, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Virginia are among the 12 states that have passed laws addressing the technology, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Last week, Connecticut lawmakers sent the governor legislation that restricts the devices' use.
 
DC Releases Draft Statehood Constitution
Courthouse News Service
One common complaint was the size of the legislature, which at 13 members would be by far the smallest in the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. By comparison, Wyoming, which has an estimated population 100,000 less than the District's, has a bicameral legislature with 90 total representatives.
 
Americans split on allowing guns at campus
Independent Online
Under the leadership of the gun lobby, at least 19 states introduced legislation to allow the concealed carrying of guns on campus in 2013, and at least 14 states introduced similar legislation in 2014, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). But only a couple of those bills were passed and enacted, it said.

May 6

The World's First Self-Driving Taxi Fleet Is Prepping For A Test Drive
Huffington Post
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nonpartisan research group that tracks legislation, California, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota, Tennessee and Washington, D.C., have passed laws to some degree permitting self-driving vehicles on their streets.
 
Clausen: Hate, fear and lack of sense in the bathroom
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
How else you would describe proposals in 17 states — New York excluded — seeking to restrict access to restrooms, locker rooms and other sex segregated facilities to the gender of someone assigned at birth, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Missouri legislature passes photo ID requirement for voters
Columbia Daily Tribune
If the measure becomes law, Missouri would join 17 other states that require a photo ID to vote, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Felonies for failed drug tests a flashpoint in SD
Sioux Falls Argus Leader
There’s truth to that. Definitions of possession vary enough from state-to-state that ingestion can become a drug charge, according to Alison Lawrence of the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Bill would move forward primary elections
The News Journal
The release cites Department of Elections figures that say the state spent about $1 million on the 2016 presidential primaries. It also cites National Conference of State Legislators, which says 17 other states hold primaries on the same day, including Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 

Massachusetts' Under-18 Tanning Ban Takes Effect Today
Patch.com
Thirteen other states and the District of Columbia already have similar bans in place, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Still other states require parents to accompany minors under a certain age.
 
Do I Have A Voter Registration Card? They Serve An Important Purpose
Bustle
Importantly, there are a few states in which a voter registration card can be used to fulfill their voter ID laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures: Alaska, Oklahoma, and Virginia. 
 
Voters have crushed out cigarette taxes
Glasgow Daily Times
Of three states that put a cigarette tax on the ballot in the past decade, only South Dakota's voters signed off, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. Proposals failed in Oregon and Missouri.
  
What Will FDA Regulation Mean For The E-Cigarette Industry?
Newsy
Now, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, prohibiting the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors is something at least 48 states have already done — including New York and California.
  
Georgia Joins 9 Other States Allowing Concealed Weapons In Campuses
University Herald 
Still including Georgia, 23 states leave the decision to ban or allow weapons up to individual colleges and universities, and 19 states currently ban concealed weapons on campuses, according the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
District 4 races: Malek-Macomber, Sims-Amador, and more...
The Spokesman Review
Idaho’s legislature is the second-oldest in the nation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures; its average member age is 63.
 
Missouri House Votes to Pass Voter ID Law
CBS Local
If the measure becomes law, Missouri would join 17 other states that require a photo ID to vote, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.

May 5

Constitutional convention a last-ditch possibility, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards tells Rotary Club
The Advocate
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Louisiana has overhauled its constitution 11 times, more than any other state.

Germany to legalize medicinal marijuana by 2017
CNN
And Guam and 24 American states allow some form of medical marijuana use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Georgia Governor Vetoes Guns On Campus Bill
Huffington Post 
His rejection came a day after Tennessee became the 10th state to permit guns on campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, also a Republican, allowed a similar measure to become law without his signature.

Georgia governor vetoes 'campus-carry' concealed gun bill
Los Angeles Times
According the National Conference of State Legislatures, 23 states leave the decision to ban or allow weapons up to the individual colleges and universities, and 19 states -- still including Georgia -- currently ban concealed weapons on campuses.

Georgia governor defies party politics with pair of vetoes
Cherokee Tribune Ledger News
Nine states have laws on the books allowing concealed handguns on campus: Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin. According the National Conference of State Legislatures, 23 states leave the decision to ban or allow weapons up to the individual colleges and universities, and 19 states — still including Georgia — ban concealed weapons on campuses.

Poll: Public supports Clean Power Plan as their states fight it
Midwest Energy News
Meanwhile, lawmakers in Missouri, Michigan and Florida have introduced legislation that requires the legislature’s approval of a state compliance plan or limits state agencies’ roles in the process, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Idahoans blocked from using paid fantasy sports sites
Rexburg Standard Journal
Attorneys general in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Kansas have ruled the practice legal, while 12 others call it illegal gambling, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Missouri Senate reaches photo ID compromise to halt election fraud, protect qualified voters’ rights
Quincy Herald Whig
If the measure becomes law, Missouri would join 17 other states that require a photo ID to vote, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.

Georgia Republican Governor Breaks With Own Party, Vetoes Campus Carry Legislation
TheBlaze.com
According the National Conference of State Legislatures, 23 states leave the decision to ban or allow weapons up to the individual colleges and universities, and 19 states – still including Georgia – ban concealed weapons on campuses.

Georgia Gov. Deal defies party politics with pair of vetoes
Savannah Morning News
Nine states have laws on the books allowing concealed handguns on campus: Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin. According the National Conference of State Legislatures, 23 states leave the decision to ban or allow weapons up to the individual colleges and universities, and 19 states — still including Georgia — ban concealed weapons on campuses.

May 4

In South Dakota, a Test Case for Online Sales Taxes
Governing
All told, 34 bills in 22 states have been introduced this year that would let states collect sales taxes from remote retailers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). About a half-dozen of those bills have moved forward in some fashion. The lawsuit shouldn’t have a chilling effect on other states considering similar legislation, said NCSL analyst Max Behlke.

Are minimum wage advocates becoming victims of their own success?
Washington Post
In 2014, Seattle became the first municipality to approve a $15 minimum wage. Now, two states — California and New York — have matched that, and 29 states and D.C. have a minimum wage higher than the federal level, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Georgia Governor to Veto 'Campus-Carry' Concealed Gun Bill
ABC News
Nine states currently have laws on the books allowing concealed handguns on campus, including: Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin. According the National Conference of State Legislatures, 23 states leave the decision to ban or allow weapons up to the individual colleges and universities, and 19 states -- still including Georgia -- currently ban concealed weapons on campuses.

Bill allowing guns on Tennessee campuses becomes law
Reuters
Including Tennessee, 10 states now allow guns on campus, although the Tennessee and Arkansas laws allow only faculty and staff to carry handguns, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks policies in all 50 states.
 
Texas man follows woman into a bathroom to check her gender because she was dressed like a man
New York Daily News
Yet lawmakers in 13 states this year and eight states in 2015 considered similar bills, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Voter ID requirement advancing in state Senate
Springfield News-Leader
If the measure becomes law, Missouri would join 17 other states that require a photo ID to vote, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
COLA clashes in spotlight as public plans, participants tussle
Pensions & Investments
“COLAs are expensive benefits and will continue to be examined by legislatures as they reform pension plans,” said Luke Martel, director of retirement research for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reducing COLAs, raising retirement ages, requiring higher service requirements and imposing higher contributions by employees are the primary tools legislators are using to enact pension reform, he said.
 
Berger to seek re-election to Wyoming House
The Sheridan Press
Berger served as the 2012 chairman of the Council of State Governments-West. She is on the executive board of the National Conference of State Legislatures and the past president of the Women’s Legislative Network of NCSL.
 
Panel rejects move for one board to oversee state's universities
American Press
Nearly 30 states have minimum wages above the national level, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Ige Vetoes Experimental Drug Bill
Honolulu Civil Beat
There were 25 states at the end of 2015 that had enacted “right-to-try” legislation that makes available experimental drugs without FDA approval to terminally ill patients with no other medication or treatment options, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
A proposal in swing state Ohio would let people register to vote 
The Republic
The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 31 states offer online voter registration.
 
Bill allowing guns on Tennessee university campuses becomes law
Raw Story
Including Tennessee, 10 states now allow guns on campus, although the Tennessee and Arkansas laws allow only faculty and staff to carry handguns, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks policies in all 50 states.
 
Wash Post Bemoans 'Controversial' College Campus Conceal Carry Law Despite Wide Support
NewsBusters
In 2014, legislators in 14 states introduced bills allowing concealed weapons on campus, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Wisconsin unemployment payments drip by more than half
Greater Milwaukee Today
Following the Great Recession, many states had diminished or insolvent unemployment insurance trust funds, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Idahoans Blocked from Using Paid Fantasy Sports Sites
Magicvalley.com
Attorneys general in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Kansas have ruled the practice legal, while 12 others call it illegal gambling, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

May 3

Faculty can carry handguns on public college campuses under controversial new Tennessee law 
Washington Post
Campuses have become a new battleground in the debate over gun control and access, as mass shootings have prompted legislators in several states in recent years to propose similar laws as that in Tennessee. In 2014, legislators in 14 states introduced bills allowing concealed weapons on campus, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Voter ID requirement advancing in Missouri Senate 
Washington Times
The legislation stems from at least a decade of Republican attempts to require a photo ID to vote in Missouri. If the measure becomes law, Missouri would join 17 other states that require a photo ID to vote, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.

GOP supports mandatory drug-testing for welfare applicants 
Alaska Public Radio Network
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 15 states have passed laws on drug-testing for people seeking public assistance. It’s not clear the laws save money, in part because testing catches few drug users, according to a 2011 federal report. Laws in Michigan and Florida that required universal testing of applicants were struck down in court.

Colorado High Court Rules Local Bans on Fracking Are Illegal
Wall Street Journal
Other states have taken a variety of stances on fracking, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In 2015, New York banned fracking statewide. Conversely, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled last year that the state has the exclusive authority to permit oil and gas drilling, limiting local government power on the issue.

Minimum wage increase stalled as negotiations continue
American Press
Currently, 29 states have minimum wages above the federal level, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Some States Seek Payday in Daily Fantasy Sports Sites
Techwire.net
Only a few states are either currently tapping, or soon could be tapping, fantasy sports games for revenue — either through flat fees or income taxes. Others are likely to follow, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks the issue.“I don’t think we’re going to see a whole lot this year on revenue,” said Max Behlke, manager of state-federal relations for NCSL. “I think that’s a next-year issue. This year it is regulating and legality.

Unemployment payments drop by over half
Chippewa Herald
Following the Great Recession, many states had diminished or insolvent unemployment insurance trust funds, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Wisconsin trust fund used to pay unemployment had a $1.3 billion deficit in 2010, and the state paid out nearly that amount in claims that year, according to Department of Workforce Development data.

May 2

Why It Can Be Tough to Tell Real Guns From Fake Ones
TIME
In New York, the state’s attorney general reached an agreement with Walmart, Sears and Amazon that they would no longer sell guns in the state that resembled real firearms. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 12 states, along with Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., prohibit residents from possessing imitation firearms.

In Online Sales Tax Fight, States Adopt New Tactics
Governing
All told, 34 bills in 22 states have been introduced this year that would allow states to collect sales taxes from remote retailers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. About a half-dozen of those bills have moved forward in some fashion.

Denying Transgender People Bathroom Access Is Linked to Suicide
Newsweek
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, similar legislation restricting access to sex-segregated facilities is pending in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington and Wisconsin. Such bills have failed in Louisiana, Mississippi, South Dakota and Virginia.

Are Legacy Preferences Affirmative Action For White Students? How ...
International Business Times
They suggest it helps minority populations not only access college and kick-start successful careers, but also improves learning for all students, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Opponents, however, decry the practice as an outdated method that can make students feel stigmatized by their peers and employers for landing seemingly unearned opportunities.

Wisconsin unemployment payments drop by more than half
Fox11online.com
Following the Great Recession, many states had diminished or insolvent unemployment insurance trust funds, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Wisconsin trust fund used to pay unemployment had a $1.3 billion deficit in 2010, and the state paid out nearly that amount in claims that year, according to Department of Workforce Development data.

Why Michigan wants to stay in the driver's seat on autonomous vehicle legislation
Automotive News
But its status as an early adopter may be waning. The number of states introducing bills has grown steadily in recent years, from six in 2012 to 16 last year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

LA Grammy director cancels trip with gay son to Mississippi museum
Mississippi Business Journal
Several other states have laws that say people would not have to provide services for same-sex marriages if doing so violates their religious beliefs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures

Michigan races to stay in the driver's seat on autonomous vehicle legislation
Crain's Detroit Business
But its status as an early adopter may be waning. The number of states introducing bills has grown steadily in recent years, from six in 2012 to 16 last year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Student asks restaurants to post 'Breastfeeding welcome here' signs to comfort moms
WTOP
Still, breastfeeding laws vary across state lines. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 49 states including Washington, D.C. and the Virgin Islands allow mothers to breastfeed in public.

Grammy museums director, father of gay son: Repeal HB 1523
Jackson Clarion Ledger
Several other states have laws that say people would not have to provide services for same-sex marriages if doing so violates their religious beliefs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Drunken driving deaths rise, but fewer licenses revoked
DesMoinesRegister.com
Currently, 23 states have mandatory ignition interlock provisions for all levels of intoxicated-driving offenses, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Iowa is not among them.

Cal Thomas: Giving felons the vote in Virginia is a new low
Omaha World-Herald
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “In 38 states and the District of Columbia, most ex-felons automatically gain the right to vote upon the completion of their sentence.”

Virginia governor to let convicted felons vote
State of the State KS
Only two states, Vermont and ME, permit felons to vote even when they are in prison, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Virginia, along with Kentucky, Florida and Iowa, maintain the harshest restrictions.

Senate Sends Medical Marijuana For Minors Legislation To Malloy's Desk
CT Newsjunkie
Connecticut is the only state with a medical marijuana program that doesn’t give access to minors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In a “Farce,” Missouri Replaces Common Core with Common Core
The New American
As chief Common Core financier and population-control zealot Bill Gates put it in a speech to the National Conference of State Legislatures in 2009: “When the tests are aligned to the common standards, the curriculum will line up as well.” The people of Missouri are learning that now.

Jane Sanders predicts the campaign will rise once again
Examiner.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the primaries ahead in May are a combination of open, hybrid and top-two primary states. Indiana, West Virginia, Nebraska, Oregon and Washington utilize a hybrid system, unique to each state for presidential primary races. The only closed primary in May is in Kentucky.

Wisconsin Unemployment Payments Drop By More Than Half
CBS Minnesota
Following the Great Recession, many states had diminished or insolvent unemployment insurance trust funds, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Wisconsin trust fund used to pay unemployment had a $1.3 billion deficit in 2010, and the state paid out nearly that amount in claims that year, according to Department of Workforce Development data.