NCSL in the News | November 2014

11/1/2014

Nov. 25

Talks under way to give NY legislators a pay raise
New York Post
New York lawmakers are the third-highest paid in the nation, trailing only members of the California ($90,526) and Pennsylvania ($84,012) state houses in base annual pay, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
North Dakota doesn’t even have voter registration. But if you have an oudated ID, you can’t vote.
Washington Post
North Dakota is one of 31 states that requires identification to vote, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Voters must present a current driver’s license, state ID, passport, federal agency ID card, tribal card, state school ID or long-term care identification certificate to vote
 
Kansas lawmakers look at moving local elections
High Plains Public Radio
Wendy Underhill, with the National Conference of State Legislatures, told a legislative committee that moving elections is a mixed bag. She says it could increase voter turnout, but would add complexity to the process of printing and distributing ballots, which can lead to errors. “Procedures can be developed, of course, to forestall that kind of mistake, but the possibility of error has to be on list of considerations for election officials,” says Underhill.
 
School Prayer in Public Schools: How Do Rules Vary From State to State?
Newsmax
Many states have enacted “moment of silence” laws to address the prayer in public school issue. These laws either permit or require teachers to start the school day with a moment of silence. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of 2008, 36 states had such a law in place.
 
5 ways marijuana legalization affects real estate
Market Watch
Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have passed laws that permit the use of prescribed medical marijuana and three states permit recreational use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But federal law prohibits use, possession or sale of all marijuana. The contradiction can make it a challenge for people to run a legal pot business.
 
New York State Exposed: Nursing home assessment
WHEC-Rochester
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 49 states and Washington D.C. have these Medicaid-related taxes or fees. The only state that doesn't is Alaska.

Nov. 24

Should You Buy an Electric Car?
Wall Street Journal
(NCSL Info Cited) Check your state’s incentives for hybrid and plug-in electric cars as tracked by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Arizona will continue to deny licenses to immigrants
USA Today
Ten states — California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Vermont, Washington — and the District of Columbia offer driving privileges to undocumented immigrants, according to the National Council of State Legislatures. Three other states — Alaska, Georgia and Maine — allow them limited driving privileges.
 
A 'safe' distance? Cyclist law unenforced
Democrat and Chronicle
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 25 states and Washington, D.C., had adopted 3-foot laws as of June. Another 19 states have "safe distance" laws like New York's.
 
Utah lawmakers consider extending annual 45-day legislative session by several weeks
Daily Journal/Associated Press
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that session lengths vary widely across the states, from unrestricted lengths to sessions that must wrap on a specific date every year.
 
State politicians eying a pay raise
Democrat and Chronicle/Gannett News
California pays its state lawmakers $90,526 a year, while Pennsylvania pays $84,012 a year. So New York ranks third in the nation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. New York is also the third most populous state in the country.
 
NC likely to join legislative push on Uber, Lyft
NewsOK/Associated Press
At least 20 legislatures are likely to take up legislation on such services in 2015 after several passed laws this year, said transportation analyst Douglas Shinkle of the National Conference of State Legislatures. "This is definitely the most fast-moving, from kind of zero to 60, policy issue ... that I've worked on since I've worked at NCSL," said Shinkle, who's been with the organization since 2005.
 
Kobach tells lawmakers he supports election consolidation with conditions
Topeka Journal
For much of the hearing, Wendy Underhill, a policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, presented lawmakers with a litany of statistics and history about election timing. According to Underhill, during the past five years, 125 bills have been introduced in 31 states seeking to consolidate elections. Of those, 13 became law.
 
Mo. lawmakers balk at possible pay raise
St. Louis Today
The National Conference of State Legislatures broke down lawmakers' pay in all 50 states for 2009. The average pay for legislators that spent more than two-thirds of a full time job being legislators -- a category Missouri falls under -- was $43,429. However, that list includes states such as Hawaii and New Jersey, where the cost of living is much higher. Missouri has the 16th lowest cost of living in the country, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.

Nov. 21

Federal immigration actions pose questions for colleges about undocumented students
Washington Post
The National Conference of State Legislatures said in May that at least 18 states, including Maryland, allow undocumented students to obtain in-state tuition. In addition, Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring in April announced that students protected through the DACA program would be eligible for in-state tuition. That is a significant financial boon for students: At the University of Virginia, undergraduate tuition, fees, room and board for Virginia residents total $23,050. For those from out of state, the charge is $52,236.
 
Utah’s legislative session is shorter than Kim Kardashian’s second marriage, and some lawmakers want to extend it
Washington Post
Utah’s 45-day session is the shortest annual legislative session that counts calendar days, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Georgia and South Dakota meet for 40 days but do not count weekends and holidays, and Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, New Mexico, Oregon, Virginia, and Wyoming all meet for less than 45 days every other year.
 
Becker to oversee national group and push for Internet sales tax
Salt Lake City Tribune
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker is poised to take the helm of the National League of Cities, where he will push for a federal law requiring online retailers to collect sales taxes. The act also is supported by the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures in which Utah leaders have prominent roles — Gov. Gary Herbert is vice chairman of the former and Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, is president-elect of the latter.
 
Hamilton: Lawmakers should heed voices for a greater good
The Journal Record
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Arizona pioneered online registration in 2002. Yes, Arizona, staunchly Republican Arizona – 12 years ago – hardly new technology.
 
Know your Event Data Recorder privacy rights
Komando News
Fortunately, the National Conference of State Legislatures has put together a list of the latest rules. If you're interested, you can also look at rules for the past nine years to see what's changed.
 
Ernie Chambers could become state’s oldest senator since at least 1937
Omaha World Herald
But his age and legislative longevity pale in comparison with lawmakers from other states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
You Paid For It: Lawmaker Salaries and Bonuses
Wabash Valley
The Illinois General Assembly is the fifth highest-paid state legislature when comparing base salaries. California, New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan all have higher base salaries for their legislators according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

 

Nov. 20

States Lose Patience Over US Internet Sales Tax
Tax-News.com
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has sent a letter to House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R – Ohio), expressing its "disappointment and frustration" with his announcement ruling out passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) during the current lame-duck session in the US Congress. "With all due respect," the NCSL wrote, "legislation to give states the authority to require the collection of sales taxes by remote sellers has been under review by the Judiciary Committee for more than 12 years and the subject of numerous hearings. In this Congress, MFA legislation has sat in the Judiciary Committee for 19 months."
 
BIG 7 WRITES ON INTERNET SALES TAX 
Politico Influence Report
The so-called “Big 7” nonpartisan groups representing state and local government, including the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures, all signed on to a letter to congressional leaders asking for passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act. “The time has come for Congress to stop stalling and join with state and local officials to promote the continued growth of electronic commerce, ensure fair competition and preserve state and local authority,” the groups wrote.
 
Christie may face a decision on assisted suicide in New Jersey
The Washington Post
The issue has been recently debated in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures and Compassion & Choices. Inspired by Maynard, legislators in Wyoming and Pennsylvania recently introduced “death with dignity” bills in their states.
 
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant proposes middle-income tax breaks
The Washington Post
That reserve-fund limit ranks among the middle of the pack of states that impose caps based on year-end surpluses, according to data from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the National Conference of State Legislatures. A handful of states set a 5 percent cap, while a number set caps at 10 percent or more. Some have no such cap.
 
Maine People's Alliance to push for state minimum wage increase
Maine Sun Journal
In all, nine states will see their minimum wages go up because of increases passed by voters or lawmakers or because of previously enacted laws indexing the minimum wage to inflation or the cost of living, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Washington's Lobbying Corps Populated By Former Lawmakers, Staffers
BoiseStatePublicRadio.com
Why do proponents of these cooling off periods want them? Natalie O’Donnell Wood, a state ethics expert with the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver, explained. “[They] believe that there needs to be a period of time to break the connection between working or voting on policy issues and then lobbying on the issues,” she said. But O’Donnell Wood added that opponents see it another way. “The people that are asked to go lobby are asked to do so because they’re credible, they know the process, they know the topic and they’re good communicators.”
 
Dangerous terrain: ATVs and open roads
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Many Minnesota roads are already open to off-road vehicles. The state is one of eight that permits “expansive” ATV riding on state-controlled roads, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The others are North Dakota, Kansas, Indiana, Montana, Arizona and Idaho. South Dakota goes so far as to allow ATVs on federal highways.
 
Food Safety Issues Making Their Way to 2015 Legislative Agendas
FoodSafetyNews.com
Last week’s state house elections saw the Republicans “run the table,” according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. When the nation’s legislative bodies are called into session in 2015, there will be at least 952 more Republicans holding power in those state houses than Democrats.

Nov. 19

State lawmakers press Boehner on online sales tax
The Hill
Boehner said this month that he had “significant concerns” about the Marketplace Fairness Act, and that the House Judiciary Committee would continue to study the issue. “With all due respect, legislation to give states the authority to require the collection of sales taxes by remote sellers has been under review by the Judiciary Committee for more than 12 years and the subject of numerous hearings,” Debbie Smith, a Democratic state senator from Nevada, and Curt Bramble, a Republican state senator from Utah, wrote to Boehner. “The time for consideration and adoption of this important legislation is now, 12 years of congressional consideration and debate is enough.”
 
Republicans have had Enough Time to consider Internet Sales Tax Bill, State Legislatures Say
Politico
The National Conference of State Legislatures is frustrated with Republicans’ unwillingness to move a bill allowing states to require out-of-state sellers to collect taxes on online purchases. “With all due respect, legislation to give states the authority to require the collection of sales taxes by remote sellers has been under review by the Judiciary Committee for more than 12 years and the subject of numerous hearings,” the group wrote to House Speaker John Boehner. “In this Congress, MFA legislation has sat in the Judiciary Committee for 19 months, while job-creating brick and mortar stores struggle to compete against remote retailers, who enjoy tacit congressional approval of their unfair advantage. The time for consideration and adoption of this important legislation is now; 12 years of congressional consideration and debate is enough.” States lost $23 billion in 2012 because they currently cannot tax out-of-state retailers, the group estimates.
 
American Roads Can’t Match French Highways Paved by Tolls
Bloomberg News
Tolls in France average 10.5 euro cents per kilometer ($0.21 per mile), versus 6.5 euro cents for Italy’s largest tollroad company, according to Sia Partners. U.S. tolls average less than $0.10 per mile in most states, according to a 2013 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
5 questions raised by KY House Dems' unusual resilience
Cincinnati.com/Gannett News
It wasn't just the South. Republicans made gains in most legislatures across the country this year. They gained control of 11 legislatures across the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Republicans control 68 of the 98 state legislative chambers nationwide and 4,100 of the 7,383 legislative seats, the NCSL reported.
 
Online voter registration proposal for Oklahoma merits consideration
The Oklahoman
If Oklahoma were to approve online voter registration, it would join a growing number of states that already do the same. The National Conference of State Legislatures says 20 states allow online registration, with five states (including Missouri and Georgia) adopting it last year.
 
Lou Cannon: Voters Elect Republicans But Display Independence on Ballot Measures
State Net Capitol Journal
But the apparent contradiction underestimates voters, who tend to make their decisions on ballot measures on their merits without partisan reference, said Wendy Underhill, who tracks ballot measures for the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislators. “The voters may deserve more credit for independent thinking than they are usually given,” she said.
 
Teen death exposes failure of state insurance laws
WLBT-NBC
According to the National Conference of State Legislators, only 15 states require liquor liability insurance. Georgia is not one of them.

Nov. 18

Kentucky vs. Comcast
Wall Street Journal
Local governments have the ability to approve or deny the transfer of a cable company, if that’s stipulated in the “franchise” agreement between the parties. In about half of U.S. states, state-level bodies have that power, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But in other states, including Kentucky, city governments get the final say.
 
Wyoming will debate digital privacy amendment
Washington Post
At least 28 states have begun considering similar prohibitions on employer access to social media accounts, according to a database maintained by the National Conference of State Legislators. Most of those measures died, though Louisiana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Wisconsin all passed versions of the legislation.
 
Five big questions raised by Dems unusual resilience in KY House
Cincinnati.com/Gannett
It wasn’t just the South. Republicans made gains in most legislatures across the country this year. They gained control of 11 legislatures across the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Republicans control 68 of the 98 state legislative chambers nationwide and 4,100 of the 7,383 legislative seats, the NCSL reported.
 
Online voter registration proposal for Oklahoma merits consideration
The Oklahoman
If Oklahoma were to approve online voter registration, it would join a growing number of states that already do the same. The National Conference of State Legislatures says 20 states allow online registration, with five states (including Missouri and Georgia) adopting it last year.
 
Senator: Legal medical marijuana needs follow-up laws
Daily Iberian 
The National Conference of State Legislatures claims California was the first state to make marijuana legal for medical use when voters passed a proposition in 1996. That actually was five years after the Louisiana Legislature passed a medical marijuana bill.

Nov. 17

Lawmakers are starting to talk about making New Mexico a right-to-work state
The Washington Post
Last year, 21 states and D.C. considered right-to-work laws, though only Tennessee passed one, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The year before, 19 states considered it, and four states passed various versions of laws that expanded or established right-to-work provisions. Generally, debate has come in waves since stats began enacting right-to-work laws in the 1940s, according to NCSL.
 
The Democratic comeback plan
Al Jazeera America
The National Conference of State Legislatures projects that about half of the next Congress will have served in state legislatures. Thirty-five newly elected senators and representatives have state legislative backgrounds, and two of the new senators — Joni Ernst of Iowa and Thom Tillis of North Carolina — are currently state lawmakers.
 
Legislature must wait on online sales tax revenue
The Seattle Times
States lost an estimated $23.3 billion in 2012 as a result of those uncollected taxes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Top advisor leaving House Democrats
The Herald
Melinda McCrady, communications and policy director for the House Democratic Caucus and a confidante of powerful House Speaker Frank Chopp, is stepping down.
She will depart at the end of the year and take on a new short-term gig as legislative coordinator for the 2015 summit of the National Conference of State Legislatures to be held in August in Seattle.
 
Synthetic marijuana highly dangerous
The Advertiser
At the federal level, the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act was signed into law in July 2012, adding certain compounds found in synthetic marijuana to the list of nationally banned controlled substances. Currently, 41 states have banned synthetic canniboids, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Gay marriage should head to highest court
The Detroit News
In recent months, four other circuit courts have overturned statewide gay marriage bans. And last year, the Supreme Court overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act. At least 33 states and the District of Columbia now recognize same-sex marriage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Georgiana Vines: Knox County: Down to one woman
Knoxville News
Knox County is down to one woman in the Tennessee Legislature after the Nov. 4 election with the state having as many women lawmakers as it did in the last session but below the national average of female to male legislators, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.
 
LG looks at four-day school week
The Oklahoma Times
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the switch has become an attractive option for legislators seeking to cut education costs. “For small, remote school districts, instituting a four-day school week may provide a savings by reducing transportation, heating and staff costs. Supporters also boast of improved morale and increased attendance by both students and teachers,” according to the NCSL website.
 
Lawmakers back privacy constitutional amendment
The Wyoming Eagle
A proposed amendment to Wyoming's Constitution could make it harder for government and other groups to access residents' private information or property.
Only 10 other states expressly recognize the right to privacy in their constitutions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Our view: Republican riptide
Roanoke 
Either way, the National Conference of State Legislatures reports it’s the lowest number of states that Democrats have controlled since 1860. We’re pretty sure there are a lot more states now than back then. (We also seem to remember something else important happened in 1860, but that’s another story).
 
Pennsylvania House and Senate spending expenses revealed
Allentown Morning Call
The Morning Call's analysis of lawmakers' spending in 2013 also reveals how Pennsylvania taxpayers fund one of the nation's most generous reimbursement systems for state lawmakers. The only state that appears to spend more money annually on elected officials is California, which is also the only state that pays its lawmakers a bigger salary than Pennsylvania does, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.
 
James C. Sheehan: Assembly had good plan to boost ethics
Providence Journal
The ethics amendment was also criticized for providing a form of appeal (de novo trial) that, some argued, is granted in perhaps only one other state or jurisdiction. In fact, according to the nonpartisan National Council of State Legislatures’ Center for Ethics in Government, “[o]f the 53 state ethics commissions that exist, 17 are in states that offer a de novo appeals process for persons adversely affected by ethics commissions’ decisions.”
 
Slight increase brings Missouri female lawmakers to 14-year high; gains mostly in House GOP
Daily Journal/Associated Press
Likewise, the next General Assembly will have more women than it's seen in 14 years, although the uptick is slight. In 2000, data from the National Conference of State Legislatures shows 44 women served in the Missouri Capitol. This year, 48 will.

Nov. 14

U.S. Capitol workers, others strike for higher pay, union
Reuters
The national minimum wage is $7.25 an hour and Republicans in Congress have blocked Obama's proposal to raise it to $10.10. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia had minimum pay above the federal level as of Aug. 1, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Voters in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota last week approved minimum wage increases, and Illinois voters approved an advisory measure, the Conference said.
 
Abuse of ‘Free Parking’ Has Big Cities Scrambling
The Fiscal Times/Stateline
At least three states—Massachusetts, New Mexico and South Carolina—now require that placards display a photo of the disabled person. (Massachusetts and New Mexico provide a sleeve or flap to cover it for privacy.) Similar legislation was introduced in Tennessee and Pennsylvania, but failed, according to the National Conference of State Legislature.
 
Twitter threats to Marc Trestman's family are appalling
ESPN
Illinois is one of approximately 30 states that currently have cyber-stalking and cyber-harassment laws on the books, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures website.
 
Oklahoma senator wants online voter registration
The State
Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts and Missouri adopted online voter registration last year, bringing to 20 the number of states that currently allow it, said Wendy Underhill with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Hypothetically, Here’s How to Respond to a Data Breach
Insurance Journal
A majority (47) of states have data breach notification laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. These statutes require organizations to notify individuals of breaches involving “personally identifiable” information. But the states’ laws are not uniform; they vary in what constitutes a breach, how they define personal information and in who must be notified and when. Some states say companies must act as soon as possible after a breach, while others set a deadline of 30 days. On top of that, states differ in what information has to be given to customers and employees. 

Nov. 13

Md. to high court: State has a right to tax all out-of-state income to support local services
Washington Post
A large contingent of state and local government advocacy organizations lined up with Maryland on the case, including the International Municipal Lawyers Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Liberal donors plan new investments in state politics
USA Today
State legislatures provide a pipeline to higher office. The majority of new lawmakers elected to Congress on Election Day were former state lawmakers, according to a tally by the non-partisan National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Children Of Older Mothers Have Higher Test Scores, Research Shows
Huffington Post
Children of young mothers may also be less likely to pursue higher levels of education. A 2010 study in the United Kingdom found that a child's odds of staying in school increased for every year a mother continued her own education. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only 40 percent of teen mothers finish high school and just 2 percent complete college by age 30.
 
With a $10,000 cap on political contributions, how did Caesars give Gov. Brian Sandoval $215,000?
Las Vegas Sun
Ten states ban donations to candidates from corporations outright, including Wisconsin, Iowa and Massachusetts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Twelve other states prohibit direct contributions to candidates but allow corporations to give to political action committees.
 
Lawmaker lives, works in state only part-time, collects full paycheck
Wisconsin State Journal
There are 10 states with full-time legislatures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Wisconsin is the second-least populous after Alaska. The NCSL defines a full-time legislator as one with full-time staff who spends about 80 percent of a 40-hour week working on legislation, helping constituents and running for re-election, among other duties.
 
Back to blue: Where do Wisconsin Democrats go from here?
The Chippewa Herald
Republicans now hold control of both the governorship and legislature in 23 states, while Democrats enjoy unified control in just seven, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Right-to-work legislation likely to be on agenda
Albuquerque Journal
In all, 24 states currently have right-to-work laws on their books, though just three states have enacted such laws in the past 20 years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Nov. 12

State legislator group disagrees with Obama on net neutrality
Washington Post
President Obama’s statement on Monday that Internet service providers should be treated like public utilities is too heavy-handed, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislators. In a late-Monday statement, NCSL Executive Director William Pound said while his group supports an “open, accessible and vibrant” internet, it believes in promoting that ideal with limited regulation. 
 
Can Democrats get their act together at the state level?
Washington Post
In sheer numbers the GOP victory wasn’t as big as the one they garnered in 2010. But according to the National Conference of State Legislatures: “It appears that Republicans will have a net gain of between 300 and 350 seats and control over 4,100 of the nation’s 7,383 legislative seats. That is their highest number of legislators since 1920.”
 
Nearly half of Americans will now live in states under total GOP control
Washington Post
(NCSL Info Cited) The above map shows state legislative control, where Republicans control 30 states -- and 31 if you include Nebraska's technically non-partisan legislature. Twenty-three of these states also have GOP governors. (Courtesy: NCSL)
 
Opinion - What Senate Republicans can learn from the GOP-led states
Washington Post
In 2008, the GOP controlled just 36 state legislative chambers. It soon will control 69 — and voters have given the GOP total control of state government in nearly half the country. In 2008, Republicans held both the legislature and governors’ mansion in just eight states. Today, the number is 24. By contrast, Democrats now control both the legislature and governor’s office in just seven states, down from 15 before the 2014 election. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, that is the lowest number of states Democrats have controlled since 1860.
 
Tax revenues in 29 states still haven’t recovered from the recession
Washington Post
There are reasons for optimism, though. As Pew notes, a summer survey by the bipartisan National Conference on State Legislatures found that budget officials in 43 states expect revenues to increase in the 2015 fiscal year. And states have it within their power to alter the course of collections.
 
Colorado Republicans claim biggest legislative win
Washington Times
Republicans now will control both houses of the legislature in 30 states, Democrats will hold both houses in 11 states and eight states will be split, according to an update Tuesday by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
GOP sweep in state legislatures biggest since 1920
The Sun Herald/Associated Press
Republicans won big in state legislatures last week – the biggest since 1920, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures
The group estimates Republicans will have a net gain of 300 to 500 seats, controlling more than 4,100 of the nation’s 7,383 legislative seats. “Republicans gained seats in every region of the country and in all but about a dozen legislative chambers that were up this year,” the NCSL reported.
 
The Addiction Side Effect of Legalized Gambling
Governing/Stateline
Of the 23 states that allow casino gambling, 18 have statutes that provide services for people with gambling problems, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. All five of the states that authorized casino gambling since 2004 (Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania) passed legislation creating problem gambling programs at the same time. Some of the other states that previously allowed casino gambling, such as Nevada, New Jersey and New York, have since initiated their own addiction programs.
 
NC Attorney General Roy Cooper promotes nonpartisan redistricting
News and Observer
A dozen states give redistricting authority to a group other than the legislature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Update: Indiana ranks last in U.S. in voter turnout
Tribune Star
In last Tuesday's election, Maine recorded the highest voter turnout at 59.3 percent. Others with turnouts above 50 percent were Alaska (55.3), Colorado (53), Iowa (50.6), Minnesota (51.3), Oregon (52) and Wisconsin (56.9). All of those states, except Alaska and Oregon, offer Election Day registration to voters, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). All except Wisconsin allow pre-registration for voters younger than 18.
 
Pot, gun control measures could be headed for Nevada ballot
Las Vegas Review Journal
Six states — California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Rhode Island — plus Washington, D.C., require universal background checks for all sales and transfers of firearms, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Washington state will soon do so following last week’s passage of a voter initiative.
 
Drugmakers stay ahead of 'Spice' law
KLAS-CBS
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which keeps track of laws, states like Colorado have laws against Spice that are written more broadly so the list of banned ingredients doesn't have to be constantly updated. The NCSL says Alaska targets advertising or displaying synthetic drugs and Illinois created criminal penalties for false advertising or misbranding synthetic drug products.

Nov. 10

Ballot Measures in the 2014 Midterm Elections
CSPAN-Washington Journal
Wendy Underhill joined by telephone to discuss how state and local ballot measures fared during the 2014 midterm elections.

Democrats watch party gains disappear
Chicago Herald/Washington Post
Republicans have unified control -- the governorship and the legislature -- in 23 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Democrats control just seven. Democrats hold 18 governorships, but only a handful are in the most populous states.
 
Two midterm elections have hollowed out the Democratic Party
Washington Post
The more serious problem for Democrats is the drubbing they’ve taken in the states, the breeding ground for future national talent and for policy experimentation. Republicans have unified control — the governorship and the legislature — in 23 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Democrats control just seven. Democrats hold 18 governorships, but only a handful are in the most populous states.
 
Job gains were solid in October but wage growth still lags
Los Angeles Times
Voters in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota approved increases in the minimum wage in Tuesday’s elections. Voters in Illinois approved a nonbinding measure to raise the minimum wage there as well. As of Aug. 1, 23 states and the District of Columbia had minimum wages above the federal level of $7.25 an hour, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
The Brief: Statehouses Turn Deeper Shade of Red
The Texas Tribune
"For statehouse Republicans, 'it's their strongest position in nearly a century,' said Tim Storey, an analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures," reported The Associated Press. "Republicans will have full control of at least 29 state legislatures, according to the conference, the party's largest total since 1928, perhaps earlier. The GOP will hold at least 32 governorships, including newly won offices in traditionally Democratic Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts."
 
Big money, little turnover in Florida House races
Miami Herald
Nationwide, Republicans on Tuesday won control over 4,100 of the nation’s 7,383 state legislative seats, the most since 1920, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. Republicans now control 30 legislatures, while Democrats control 11. The rest are divided.
 
Single Undecided Senate Race Illustrates State Legislatures’ Importance
CBS-Denver
William Pound with the National Conference of State Legislators said it best when he noted that state lawmakers, like their federal counterparts, have power. The difference is they use it. Nationwide, Republicans now control more than half of the nation’s legislative seats, their highest number since 1920.
 
Florida Democrats search for their place in GOP dominated Legislature
Naples Daily
Florida is part of the majority of states where Republicans control the Legislature, according to a recent roundup by the National Conference of State Legislatures. The GOP holds 29 statehouses nationwide, Democrats are the majority in 11, and the rest are split or had too many races still undecided last week to make a determination.
 
Scott Walker wants jobless, food stamp recipients to face drug tests
La Crosse Tribune
In the past three years, numerous states have proposed drug testing recipients of cash welfare and unemployment benefits, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Eleven states require testing of at least some recipients receiving cash welfare, NCSL data show. Four states have drug-testing requirements for at least some people seeking unemployment compensation, the NCSL said. Two states — Kansas and Mississippi — have both requirements, according to Jeanne Mejeur, senior researcher at the National Conference on State Legislatures.
 
Democratic Party’s future looks gray, judging by leaders’ age
Press Herald
The more serious problem for Democrats is the drubbing they’ve taken in the states, the breeding ground for future national talent and for policy experimentation. Republicans have unified control – the governorship and the legislature – in 23 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Democrats control just seven. Democrats hold 18 governorships, but only a handful are in the most populous states.
 
Senator seeks education answers from China
Herald Dispatch
Since 2004, Plymale has been involved with the National Conference of State Legislatures, which is sponsoring the trip in partnership with the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. Plymale has held various leadership positions, mostly dealing with education, since he was appointed to the conference. Plymale currently is the chairman of the West Virginia Senate Education Committee.
 
Flextime movement grows, helping working families
Gazette Net/Stateline
Some cities and states are trying to give that flexibility to their own employees. California, Iowa, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island and South Carolina direct state agencies to allow “flextime” schedules for their workers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Baker win could raise status of Beacon Hill's other Republicans
Daily News
The GOP now controls 66 of 99 state legislative chambers, and the number of states controlled by Democratic legislative majorities has dropped from 14 to seven — the lowest number in a century, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures. Twenty-four states now have a Republican governor and legislative majority.
 
Editorial: Lighten up on the new kid in the Legislature 
Charleston Daily
Blair will not only be the youngest member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, she’ll be the youngest lawmaker in the nation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Neshaminy students could be prosecuted under sexting law
The Intell
At least 19 states have laws addressing the sharing of nude or sexually explicit photos among juveniles, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. New Jersey’s law also went into effect in 2012 and allows first-time offenders to avoid a criminal record and be placed in an educational program, if the photos are posted or sent without malicious intent.
 
Hemp harvest legal in Colo. for first time
The Denver Post
There are cracks forming in the fa├žade of federal hemp prohibition: The 2014 farm bill contained a provision allowing colleges and universities to cultivate industrial hemp for research purposes without fear of federal interference, and 19 states have laws on the books permitting such pilot projects, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Eight of those states, including Colorado, California, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia have passed laws removing barriers to more widespread hemp production.

Nov. 7

Democrats Sift the Wreckage for Lessons
Wall Street Journal
In state legislatures, the GOP holds the highest number of seats since 1920 after gaining at least 300, said the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
State Tax Revenue Fell in Second Quarter
Wall Street Journal
Almost all the states are required by law to balance their budgets, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. When tax revenue dips, that can mean service cuts rather than red ink. Kansas schools cut teaching staff and class sizes grew after tax cuts contributed to hundreds of millions of dollars in tax shortfalls, Bloomberg reported this month.
 
Election brings new GOP power to state Capitols
Washington Post
For statehouse Republicans, “it’s their strongest position in nearly a century,” said Tim Storey, an analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Statehouses and governors - Even worse news for Democrats
The Economist
The result is that, although America remains gridlocked at the federal level, at state level Republicans are in charge, says Tim Storey, a political scientist at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Republicans now control 29 state legislatures, holding both chambers—two more than they did, and the most they have since the 1920s (see table). Several Democratic governors who were re-elected now find themselves with Republican legislative chambers. In Colorado John Hickenlooper, who has passed strong gun-control measures, held on narrowly, but his party appears to have lost the state senate. In New York too, Republicans took the state senate despite the efforts and money of New York City’s mayor Bill de Blasio.
 
Unpopular Obama put Dems in a hole for 2016
New York Post
In 2009, Democrats controlled 62 legislative chambers, compared with 30 in 2015, bringing the GOP dominance in state capitals to levels not seen since 1920, said Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures. “Republicans ran the table,” Storey said.
 
Red Shift in States Creates Conservative Opportunities
National Review
Describing just shifts in partisan control understates the magnitude of the GOP wave in the states, however, because it ignores the fact that more often than not, state legislatures already under Republican control got more firmly Republican and legislatures previously under Democratic control got less firmly Democratic. Tim Storey, who analyzes legislative elections for the National Conference of State Legislatures, reports that Republicans nationwide appear to have netted as many as 375 seats, giving them something like 56 percent of the 7,383 legislative seats in the country. You have to go back to the 1920s to find such a level of Republican strength in state capitals.
 
From Success to Success
Weekly Standard
The races for governors’ mansions provided some real drama. Surprising Republican pickups in Illinois and Maryland and surprising holds in Florida, Kansas, and Maine gave Republicans a slight edge. But in state legislatures, Democrats were eviscerated. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that Democrats will hold fewer state legislative seats than at any time in nearly a century. Among GOP highlights: Republicans picked up the state house in West Virginia and tied the state senate; they won both chambers of the Nevada legislature; they won the New Hampshire and Minnesota houses; and they reclaimed the New York senate.
 
Beyond Congress: GOP tsunami rips through states
World News Daily
“This was a wave election victory for Republicans in state legislatures across the country, leaving Democrats at their lowest point in state legislatures in nearly a century,” Morgan Cullen, senior policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Colorado, told WND. “Even though the GOP was already at a high-water point in state legislative control, last night was a big night for Republicans in that the 2014 midterm election saw the GOP make important additional gains in legislative control.”
 
The Brief: Statehouses Turn Deeper Shade of Red
Texas Tribune
"For statehouse Republicans, 'it's their strongest position in nearly a century,' said Tim Storey, an analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures," reported The Associated Press. "Republicans will have full control of at least 29 state legislatures, according to the conference, the party's largest total since 1928, perhaps earlier. The GOP will hold at least 32 governorships, including newly won offices in traditionally Democratic Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts."
 
Why did Oregon get bluer while the nation got redder?
Statesman Journal
(NCSL info. cited) Voters across the nation awoke Wednesday morning to find their state at least a little bit redder than it was the day before.
 
Democrats Make Gains In Oregon Legislature
NWPR
The legislative victories for Oregon Democrats went against a national trend. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Democrats are now at their lowest point of legislative control nationwide in nearly a century.
 
Though high rates of teen pregnancy, no sex-ed in schools
The Oswegonian
The National Conference of State Legislatures, AB 2694/SB 957, a sex-ed policy, “establishes an age-appropriate sex education grant program through the department of health to provide grants to eligible applicants that provide comprehensive, age-appropriate and medically accurate sex education programs.”

Nov. 6

Republicans gain big in state legislative elections
Reuters
Democrats lost their majorities in the West Virginia House, Nevada Assembly and Senate, New Hampshire House, Minnesota House, New York Senate, Maine Senate, Colorado Senate, Washington Senate, and New Mexico House to Republicans, who also won enough seats to tie control of the West Virginia Senate, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) reported on Wednesday."Everyone knew it was a Republican year, but they really blew away expectations at the state legislative level," said Tim Storey, the bipartisan group's election analyst.
 
With Statehouse Victories, Republicans Are Poised to Enact Changes
New York Times
“It was a worst-case scenario for the Democrats,” said Tim Storey, an elections analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “Republican voters turned out better, were more enthusiastic, they just swamped the Democrats. The anti-Obama mood was too strong even for many Democratic candidates who were well funded and had run equally active campaigns. In the state legislatures, the Democrats were overwhelmed by the environment.”
 
Election pay day: Five states adopt higher minimum-wage laws
Wall Street Journal
Efforts by President Obama to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, from its current $7.25, by 2015, have been stalled in Congress. But support for raising minimum wages has grown in recent years. There have been 15 states with minimum-wage ballot measures since 1996, and all 15 passed, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
After Snags, Last Chicago Ballot Cast at 3 a.m.
ABC News/Associated Press
"No matter what the changes, if it's related to elections, the rollout is likely to be a little bit bumpy," said Wendy Underhill, program manager for elections at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Republicans make gains in some state legislatures
NewsObserver/Associated Press
"The state picture is dramatically more Republican than it was going into the election," said Tim Storey, of the National Conference of State Legislatures. While many races were too close to call, "Democrats are going to be in their weakest position in legislatures in decades, since well before World War II," he said.
 
His Party Is at a Low Point, and Obama Seems Passive
National Journal
The impact of the carnage in state legislatures on Obama's watch is hard to overstate. This is where the future classes of mayors, governors, and members of Congress are bred. This is where the boundary lines are drawn for congressional and legislative districts. This is where party leaders come from. And this is where the rules are made for party primaries and election laws are set. According to Tim Storey at the National Conference of State Legislatures, what we saw on Tuesday was an almost unprecedented "Republican wave," which he said, leaves "Democrats at their lowest point in state legislatures in nearly a century."
 
Republicans hope to make union holdout Kentucky a right-to-work state
Fox News
Currently, 24 states have passed Right to Work laws. Labor unions still operate in those states, but workers cannot be forced to join as a requirement of their job, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Republicans Crush Democrats At State Level, Control Two-Thirds Of Legislatures Now
International Business Times
The election results starkly reflected the decision by party donors and operatives to direct so few resources into state races. As the National Conference of State Legislatures reports, Democrats are now “at their lowest point in state legislatures in nearly a century.” In this week’s election Democrats lost their majorities in legislative chambers in Washington, Colorado, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York and West Virginia. In all, NCSL reports that there are 67 legislative chambers controlled by Republicans and just 29 controlled by Democrats. Republicans gained seats in every region, adding up to 375 seats to their column. That gives the GOP more than 4,100 of the country's 7,383 legislative seats.  
 
18-Year-Old Becomes Youngest State Legislator
Newsmax
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Blair is the youngest state lawmaker in the nation. Out of 7,300 state legislators, fewer than 5 percent are under the age of 30, the records show.
 
Despite losses, GMO label backers aren’t quitting
Las Vegas Sun/Associated Press
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, some 30 other states have also considered GMO labeling legislation this year, though none of the bills has passed.
 
State House Republicans take unfamiliar reins of power
Albuquerque Journal
Other states home to GOP takeovers of one or more chambers included Colorado, Washington, Nevada, West Virginia, Minnesota, New Hampshire and New York, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Nov. 5

Republicans gain in U.S. state legislative elections
Reuters
Democrats lost their majorities in the Nevada Senate, Minnesota House and West Virginia House to Republicans, who were also poised to take over the New Hampshire House, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). "All the signs point to a big night for Republicans," said Morgan Cullen, a policy analyst at the bipartisan group. He added that Democrats had not yet picked up a single chamber, although voting results were still coming in.
 
Republicans Poised to Hold Sway in States
Bloomberg
Going into yesterday’s vote, the party held full legislatures in 27 states, three shy of its record, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Republicans had targeted 16 chambers they wanted to take from Democrats, while the priority of Democrats was holding seven and taking majorities in five others. “It’s always a stiff headwind for the party out of the White House in the midterm elections,” Tim Storey, an NCSL analyst in Denver, said before the election.
 
West Virginia Elects America’s Youngest State Lawmaker
Wall Street Journal
She will be the youngest state lawmaker in the nation, according to records kept by the National Conference of State Legislatures. There are more than 7,300 state legislators in the U.S., and fewer than 5% are under the age of 30, according to Morgan Cullen, a policy analyst at NCSL.
 
Record Statehouse Control in Reach for Republicans
Wall Street Journal
The GOP is expected to boost their recent dominance over state legislatures as the party benefits from a favorable map and a challenging midterm landscape for Democrats. Republicans are defending only four chambers, while Democrats appear vulnerable in 12 chambers, according to Tim Storey, election analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures. One of the limiting factors for Republicans is the large number of legislatures the party already controls. At 27, the GOP holds more statehouses than at any time in the past six decades. And a good night Tuesday could result in the party matching or eclipsing its all-time high of 30 legislatures, Mr. Storey said.
 
Minimum-Wage Boosts, Pot Legalization Advance in State Ballot Measures
Wall Street Journal
Arkansas and Nebraska voters approved ballot measures raising the minimum wage, while a similar measure was leading in South Dakota Tuesday night, according to the Associated Press. In Illinois, a nonbinding measure that would raise the minimum wage was also solidly ahead with most precincts counted, the AP reported. The initiatives were among 147 statewide ballot measures across the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Voices: In some states, voter ID is no joke
USA Today
The jurists behind the tables were inspecting IDs like hanging chads, as my home state last year joined six others with strict photo-ID voter laws. By contrast, 20 states require no document at all to vote, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Yet each vote counts the same.
 
Minimum Wage Fight Moves To The States
Forbes
Currently, Arkansas has the lowest state level of the four at $6.25 an hour, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nebraska and South Dakota tie at $7.25, while Alaska’s current level is $7.75. If the measures pass, the new levels would be $9 in Nebraska by 2016, $8.50 in South Dakota next year, $9.75 by 2016 in Alaska, and $8.50 in Arkansas by 2017. Both Alaska and South Dakota would peg the minimum wage thereafter to inflation.
 
Washington approves expanded gun background checks
Houston Chronicle/Associated Press
Six states — California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Rhode Island — plus Washington, D.C., require universal background checks for all sales and transfers of firearms, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Other states have varying laws on expansion beyond what federal law requires, including Oregon, which requires a background check for purchases at gun shows.
 
Hunting and fishing amendment given overwhelming support
Hattiesburg American
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Mississippi became the 18th state to guarantee hunting and fishing as a constitutional right Tuesday.
 
The Real Culprit Behind Voter Suppression Is Voter Apathy
Hawaii Reporter
More than half of the states now require some form of ID to vote, although only eight of them (including Texas, at least for this election) require a photo ID, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
N.J. voters approve open space, bail amendments
Philly.com/The Inquirer
Thirteen other states use such systems, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Voters deal with new laws in 34 states
Portland Press Herald
Georgia and Texas have strict photo ID laws, meaning those who don’t have proper identification can vote via provisional ballots but must provide sufficient identification within days of casting those ballots, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Nov. 4

Early election voting: At least 16.4M ballots already cast
USA Today
The importance of early voting has been emphasized in recent weeks by everyone from President Obama to Mitt Romney. The AP found early voting is up from 2010 in Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin. In all, 33 states and the District of Columbia offer in-person early voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
How to stop voter fraud and increase turnout at the same time
Washington Post
Another measure that some states have taken is to collate voter registration databases with those in other states and with databases of driver's licenses and vital statistics, so that state boards of elections will know when a voter moves out or passes away. In the last two years, 11 states and the District of Columbia have joined a consortium to compare records and save money. Registering in voting in two states is "the most common kind of fraud that I'm aware of," said Wendy Underhill, of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Republicans hope to make union holdout Kentucky a right-to-work state
Fox News
Currently, 24 states have passed Right to Work laws. Labor unions still operate in those states, but workers cannot be forced to join as a requirement of their job, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Ballot initiatives run gamut from marijuana to minimum wage
Washington Times
There are 147 initiatives on Tuesday’s state ballots, or 41 fewer than in the 2012 cycle. That decline represents a recent political trend, said Wendy Underhill, who tracks ballot measures for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
State ballot measures: 5 things to watch
AOL News/Associated Press
A total of 147 ballot measures will go before voters on Election Day, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The topics range from marijuana legalization and abortion to food labels and gun sales.
 
Ballot initiatives test mood of US voters, from teacher tenure to tax hikes
Christian Science Monitor
(NCSL Info. Cited) Drawing on information compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver, here are nine issues to watch, and where to watch them.
 
Midterm Elections 2014: Why it matters and the races, measures and stories to watch across U.S.
ABC 7 Denver
A total of 147 ballot measures will go before voters on Election Day, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The topics range from marijuana legalization and abortion to food labels and gun sales.
 
Rival gun measures to be decided in Washington
Bellingham Herald/Associated Press
Six states — California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Rhode Island — plus Washington, D.C., require universal background checks for all sales and transfers of firearms, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Other states have varying laws on expansion beyond what federal law requires, including Oregon, which requires a background check for purchases at gun shows.
 
State senate race heats up on jobs, education
Portland Tribune
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Oregon state legislators make $21,936 per year with a $123 per diem when the Legislature is in session. Salaries for state legislators vary widely across the country, but by comparison, Washington legislators make $42,106 per year with a $90 per diem. Idaho lawmakers are paid $16,116 per year with a conditional per diem.

Nov. 3

An Encore Vote on Hunting in Alabama
The New York Times
Since 1996, according to records compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, 16 states have opted to include hunting rights amendments in their constitutions. Alabama is among them, having voted in 1996 to enshrine a “Sportsperson’s Bill of Rights,” which supporters of this year’s ballot measure now fret is insufficient.
 
Ballot issues on abortion, pot, guns have potential to boost Election Day turnout
Fox News
A total of 147 ballot measures will go before voters on Election Day, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Three measures related directly or indirectly to abortion have sparked sharp debate in several states.
 
Casinos to Marijuana Questions Go Before State Voters
Bloomberg News
Businesses say raising the level causes employers to hire less or cut back on hours; supporters contend that it provides a lift to the working poor. Voters tend to side with the latter: Since 1998, every statewide ballot measure to raise the minimum wage has passed, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
GMO Labeling Faces Ballot Test in Oregon, Colorado
Wall Street Journal
Labeling bills have been introduced in 28 states so far this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. If more states pass new requirements, creating a patchwork of rules across the country, the fight is likely to shift to the federal government and a national standard could emerge.
 
State ballot measures: 5 things to watch
Associated Press National Wire
A total of 147 ballot measures will go before voters on Election Day, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, on topics ranging from marijuana legalization and abortion to food labels and gun sales.
 
Election question: Does your vote count?
Democrat and Chronicle
At the state level, the league has lobbied for years for early voting, which allows people to cast ballots for a designated period leading up to Election Day. Thirty-three states and Washington, D.C., allow this with no excuse or justification required, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Beware scope of ‘revenge porn’ laws
Daily Record-Gannett
This year alone, at least 28 states have introduced or have pending legislation to curb the posting of humiliating sexual images, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. It’s all well-intentioned, but on thin ice constitutionally.
 
How is Texas voter ID law affecting poor, minorities? Center tracks impact
Christian Science Monitor
Texas is not the only state requiring government-issued photo ID to vote this year. States with the same requirements as Texas' include quadrennial battleground states and states with tight races this year, including Georgia and Kansas. North Carolina and Wisconsin have passed strict photo ID laws, but they are not in effect this year. Thirteen states require a non-photo ID to vote, and 17 states don't require any identification at all, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Ky. voting law leaves many out of election
Courier Journal
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, modern disenfranchisement laws — taking away voting and civil rights because of a crime — date to ancient Greece and Rome.
 
Voter Suppression? New Voter I.D. Laws Targeting Minorities, Left-Leaning Groups
Headline & Global News
There are 14 states implementing the new voter I.D. laws, with a total of 31 states implementing some form of voter identification law next week, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures, Reuters reported. Seven of those state carry a strict requirement for photo IDs.
 
Kentucky Ranks Low in Number of Women in Legislature
WFPL-NPR
Nationally, Kentucky has a relatively low percentage of women in the  Legislature, ranking 37th for its rate of female politicians, according to an analysis by the National Conference on State Legislatures.
 
Lawmaker sidelined by military seeks 2nd term
News OK
Other lawmakers have left office to serve in the military. In the early 1990s, for instance, legislators in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Nevada and Washington went to the Persian Gulf. In 2003, Florida state Rep. Carey Baker served in Iraq for more than a year, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.
 
Sen. Kathleen Vinehout: NO photo ID required to vote
The Cap Times
The nonpartisan National Council of State Legislatures recently listed Wisconsin as having one of nine strict photo ID laws nationally.