NCSL in the News | October 2016

10/3/2016

Oct. 28

Web-Based Overseas Ballots May Be Most Vulnerable to Tampering
Wall Street Journal
Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia permit some registered voters living outside of the U.S. to cast their pick for president by email, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Another 30 states permit the return of some ballots by fax, while five states allow ballots to be uploaded through a web portal.

Ranked Choice Voting: Maine Considers Big Change To Election 
NPR
This round-up is not exhaustive. If you're looking for the rest of the ballot measures in your state, the National Conference of State Legislatures has a database and a state-by-state guide.
 
This map shows the number of women in every state legislature
PBS NewsHour
Katie Ziegler, of the National Conference of State Legislatures, said while women tend to win at the same rate as men, a leading cause for the disparities comes down to participation. A 2012 study called “Men Rule: The Continued Under-Representation of Women in U.S. Politics” found that “no differences emerge in women and men’s fundraising receipts, vote totals, or electoral success.” “The really fundamental reason is because women are not running for these legislative seats,” Ziegler said. “It’s not any ballot box bias but it’s making the decision to become a candidate.”

National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Announces Senator Michael S. Sanchez Becomes VP
KRWG
New Mexico State Senator Michael S. Sanchez (D-29, Bernalillo, Valencia) has been elected vice president of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a bipartisan organization that serves the nation’s 7,382 state lawmakers and legislative staff. Sanchez took office at NCSL’s Legislative Summit in Chicago on August 11th, 2016.
 
National groups back limit to prevent sales taxes from being expanded to services
Omaha World-Herald
Over the past five years about half the states have considered some sort of proposal to expand sales taxes to services, according to bill tracking by the National Conference of State Legislatures, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the National Association of Realtors and research by the Associated Press. Many of those proposals have failed. Missouri is the first state where voters will consider a constitutional amendment putting a halt to sales tax expansions, according to the NCSL. Amendment 4 would bar state and local sales taxes from being applied to any transaction or service not already taxed as of Jan. 1, 2015.

K-12 Digital Citizenship Initiative Targets States
Education Week
“This isn’t an issue that can be solved with a one-time fix,” said Sunny Deye, a program principal at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “It requires a mechanism for schools to address ongoing issues as they come up.”
 
Olympia voters consider an income tax for high earners
The Seattle Times
Washington is one of seven states — the others are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming — without a personal income tax. New Hampshire and Tennessee have a limited income tax on interest, dividends and capital gains, but they do not tax wages and salaries, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Why I Serve
PenBayPilot.com
The Maine State Legislature is classified by the National Conference of State Legislatures as "part time lite", also referred to as a citizens legislature. I anticipate putting in large amounts of time, going above and beyond in the legislature, just like I do for Rockport. What is great about our state government system is that it is set up for the ability to work part time in other areas. Barring those who are already retired, virtually every member of the Legislature has another part time job. We Mainers pride ourselves on the ability to do many different jobs in the span of a year... I am no exception.

Olympia to vote on income tax for high earners
The Spokesman-Review
Washington is one of seven states – Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming – without a personal income tax. New Hampshire and Tennessee have a limited income tax on interest, dividends and capital gains, but they do not tax wages and salaries, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Paying tax on a haircut? Voters weigh sales tax limits
Huntington Herald Dispatch
Over the past five years, about half the states have considered some sort of proposal to expand sales taxes to services, according to bill tracking by the National Conference of State Legislatures, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the National Association of Realtors and research by The Associated Press. Many of those proposals have failed.
 
How Decriminalizing Marijuana Saved Philadelphia $9 Million
AlterNet
Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Five states and DC have legalized adult use of marijuana.

What are poll watchers?
KVIA El Paso
Alas, we can't answer everything. You should check the rules for your state, but the National Conference of State Legislatures has a helpful guide on the voter ID issue:
 
What Are Poll Watchers & What Are They Allowed To Do?
EverythingLubbock.com
Alas, we can't answer everything. You should check the rules for your state, but the National Conference of State Legislatures has a helpful guide on the voter ID issue: http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/voter-id.aspx. Justin Timberlake spurred a discussion of "ballot selfies"
 
Voters in Olympia to consider income tax on city's highest earners
OregonLive.com
Washington is one of seven states -- Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming -- without a personal income tax. New Hampshire and Tennessee have a limited income tax on interest, dividends and capital gains, but they do not tax wages and salaries, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
This map shows the number of women in every state legislature
NET Website
Katie Ziegler, of the National Conference of State Legislatures, said while women tend to win at the same rate as men, a leading cause for the disparities comes down to participation. A 2012 study called “Men Rule: The Continued Under-Representation of Women in U.S. Politics” found that “no differences emerge in women and men’s fundraising receipts, vote totals, or electoral success.”
 
Sales tax limits on Missouri ballot
NWAOnline
Over the past five years, about half the states have considered some sort of proposal to expand sales taxes to services, according to bill tracking by the National Conference of State Legislatures, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the National Association of Realtors and research by The Associated Press. Many of those proposals have failed. Missouri is the first state where voters will consider a constitutional amendment putting a halt to sales tax expansions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Amendment 4 would bar state and local sales taxes from being applied to any transaction or service not already taxed as of Jan. 1, 2015.
 
Who can afford to have kids? Ask Brianna
OregonLive.com
Some states provide a more generous benefit: California, New Jersey and Rhode Island offer paid family leave, as will New York starting Jan. 1, 2018, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Ask your employer about your company's leave options, too.
 
Taxing haircuts? Missouri voters weigh sales tax limits
nwitimes.com
Over the past five years, about half the states have considered some sort of proposal to expand sales taxes to services, according to bill tracking by the National Conference of State Legislatures, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the National Association of Realtors and research by The Associated Press. Many of those proposals have failed.
 
250 outside high court protest Rx-'pot' ruling
Arkansas Online
Twenty-five states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico either allow medical-marijuana use or are in the process of doing so, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Voters weigh sales tax limits
Moberly Monitor Index
Over the past five years, about half the states have considered some sort of proposal to expand sales taxes to services, according to bill tracking by the National Conference of State Legislatures, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the National Association of Realtors and research by The Associated Press. Many of those proposals have failed.
 
U.Va. controversy points to conflicting choices at public universities
Virginia Business Magazine
Nationally, since 1990, the average tuition at public four-year public institutions has skyrocketed more than 160 percent, according to the the National Conference of State Legislatures.

National College Promise Campaign Gives Update At Conference
Gazette Newspapers
More than 31 different state legislative proposals have been introduced by elected officials, as tracked by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Competitive Races Are The Exceptions In Hawaii Legislature
Honolulu Civil Beat
If Slom loses, the 25-member Senate would become the first one-party chamber in the nation since 1980, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Oct. 28

A suspicious wind in the election rigging
Washington Times
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about a third of the nation’s voters will have cast ballots by Nov. 8, which is what was once accurately called Election Day.
 
Millions of people have voted, and Democrats are showing strong signs in key states
Los Angeles Times
Early voting — either through mail-in ballots or in person prior to election day — has steadily grown in popularity in recent election cycles. Thirty-seven states now offer some form of early voting, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures; the remaining 13 require a reason for requesting an absentee ballot.

Donald Trump Supporters Reportedly Planning Voter Intimidation On Election Day
The Inquisitr
Thirty-four of the states require voter identification. Voters can find out on the National Conference of State Legislatures what their state requirement is, with the full list of state voter ID laws, in a state list and chart. 
 
US state of Oklahoma to vote on death penalty
Yahoo News
States have considered a range of alternatives, from firing squads in Utah to electrocution in Tennessee, said Amber Widgery, a policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Oklahoma is considering execution by nitrogen gas, but the broader question about capital punishment is being discussed along religious lines.

Why Body Camera Programs Fail
Fast Company
So far, according to a survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures, five statesmake body camera video part of the public record. The states—Connecticut, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Texas—also provide caveats that allow police to withhold or obscure videos, measures that police and civil rights groups say are essential to ensure privacy. Meanwhile, eight states exclude video from public record requests outright, though some include exceptions for police shootings. Six states have not addressed the issue of public records, and 31 states have yet to finalize laws surrounding body camera footage.

Who should decide how much lawmakers get paid?
Post-Bulletin
That state also has one of the highest salary rates for lawmakers in the nation — $100,113 per year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. It is worth noting that unlike Minnesota, California has a full-time Legislature. California's commission also approved cuts to lawmakers' pay during the economic downturn.
 
In Lansing, potentially self-serving votes run 'rampant'
MLive.com
There are 32 states with statutes on lawmakers and conflicts of interest. The National Conference of State Legislatures lists how each state regulates when lawmakers must refrain from voting.

Cole misses straight-ticket tie to Trump
Williamson Daily News
Ten other states still offer straight-ticket voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures: Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Michigan, where the legislature’s decision to abolish it has been held back by a court challenge.
 
Voters to decide if campaign donations should be capped
Columbia Missourian
Currently, Missouri has no limits on contributions from individual donors, state donors, Political Action Committees, corporate donors and union donors. It is one of six states in the country with no limits on contributions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Alabama, Nebraska, Oregon, Utah and Virginia also have no limits.

Our View / Ballot Question: Remove politics from politicians' pay
Duluth News Tribune
The per diems increase some lawmakers’ salaries by as much as 50 percent. Minnesota ranks 19th of the 39 states that pay annual legislative salaries, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Republicans Risk Losing State Legislatures
Net Newsledger
The bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) estimates 18 legislative chambers in 12 states could switch party control, including in Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, Washington and Wisconsin. “More than three-fourths of the time the party winning the White House also makes gains in state legislatures. So the odds are Democrats would pick up chambers and seats on the whole if (Clinton) wins,” said Tim Storey, a NCSL elections analyst.
 
How Teletherapy Addresses Mental Health Needs
North Carolina Health News
Thirty-two states and Washington, D.C., have parity laws in place now or have enacted ones that will take effect next year. Twenty-three of those and the District of Columbia require that payments to teletherapy providers be equal to what they receive for in-office treatment, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The remaining nine allow for somewhat lower payments that account for savings through reduced overhead and other factors.

Oct. 27

Republican hold on US state legislatures could slip in election
Reuters
The bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) estimates 18 legislative chambers in 12 states could switch party control, including in Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, Washington and Wisconsin. "More than three-fourths of the time the party winning the White House also makes gains in state legislatures. So the odds are Democrats would pick up chambers and seats on the whole if (Clinton) wins," said Tim Storey, a NCSL elections analyst.

Explaining how recounts and contested presidential elections work
Yahoo News
Today, 43 states allow a losing candidate, a voter, a group of voters or other concerned parties to petition for a recount in some fashion, says the National Conference of State Legislatures. Among 15 current potential swing states or battleground states in the presidential election, only six states have automatic recount provisions based on a close margin in the race: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. 

US state of Oklahoma to vote on death penalty
Times LIVE
States have considered a range of alternatives, from firing squads in Utah to electrocution in Tennessee, said Amber Widgery, a policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Legislators slowly coming around on online sales tax collections
Oxford Eagle
The National Conference of State Legislatures observed: “In many states, the sales tax makes up a significant chunk of total tax revenue. On average, it accounted for 31.2 percent of state tax collections in 2014, and more than 50 percent in a few states. It is commonly criticized for its regressivity — low-income people lose a greater percentage of their income to the tax than the wealthy do — but its historical stability relative to the income tax makes it an appealing revenue-raiser.”
 
In governor's race, Cole misses straight-ticket tie to Trump
TBO.com
Ten other states still offer straight-ticket voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures: Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Michigan, where the legislature's decision to abolish it has been held back by a court challenge.

More guns on campuses won't make people safer, say researchers
WRCB-TV
As it stands now, eight states — Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin — allow the carrying of concealed weapons on college campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Another two, Arkansas and Tennessee, allow certain faculty members to carry guns, but not students or the general public.
 
The Surprising Reason The WHO Wants To Call Being Single A Disability
Refinery29
U.S. laws vary from state to state but typically require the IVF recipient to have had unprotected sex for at least a year in order for insurance companies to be required to cover it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Voters weigh donation limits amid costly governor's race
Houston Herald
A 2014 U.S. Supreme Court case struck down aggregate limits on individuals' total donations in federal elections. Limits on spending per state campaign still are in place in 38 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A court challenge is likely if the Missouri proposal is approved.
 
Subscribing to Submetering
Multi-Housing News
In the meantime, the National Conference of State Legislatures weighed in on submetering by declaring the practice can be managed by non-electricity-, gas- or water-producing third-party entities that resell utilities to customers behind the utility meter.
 
Pot Decriminalization Yields $9-million in Savings for Philadelphia
CounterPunch
Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Five states and DC have legalized adult use of marijuana.
 
True or False?
Yakima Herald-Republic
This year, the U.S. planned to accept 85,000 refugees from around the world - representing less than 1 percent of all refugees worldwide. The Refuge Resettlement Budget was $582 million in 2015, which works out to about $6,800 per refugee, but according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which complied the data, individual costs vary widely. That money is spent on medical care and social services. Refuges also are eligible for federal benefit programs, such as food stamps. Out of a $3.7 trillion federal budget, spending on refugees is less than one one-hundredth of a percent. Even looking at just the $583 billion non- defense discretionary budget, it's 0.1 percent of total spending. Significant, yes, but hardly the cause of the country's financial woes.

Oct. 26

Election law doesn't care if Trump (or Clinton) ever concedes
CNN
In all, 43 states "permit a losing candidate, a voter, a group of voters or other concerned parties to petition for a recount," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But at least a few require the loser to meet some benchmark, like in Idaho where requests are only heard if the margin is less than 0.1%.

This Is How Early Voting Became a Thing
TIME
On Monday, six states started offering early in-person voting, and by week’s end, 12 states plus the District of Columbia will have rolled out early voting. The percentage of voters who cast ballots early is about a third, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). But how did early voting become a thing? The precursor to the idea was absentee voting, which essentially allows people to vote early and from afar if they aren’t going to be available on Election Day. NCSL’s Wendy Underhill says the earliest evidence the organization could find was “a list of eligible persons [who] were permitted to vote before Election Day” when Louisiana established “in-person absentee voting” in 1921. 
 
Foreign observers ratchet up presence at US poll sites, amid interference claims
Fox News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the states that allow international election observers are: California, Hawaii, Missouri, North Dakota, New Mexico, South Dakota, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
 
For The First Time, Some New England Voters Can Cast Their ...
Rhode Island Public Radio
In New England, for instance, states may not technically offer early voting, but there are other ways to vote early. Rhode Island and Connecticut don’t have early voting laws per se, but over time the definition of who qualifies for an absentee ballot has broadened. Voters no longer need a complicated reason to get one, said Wendy Underhill, who tracks election policies for the National Conference of State Legislatures. “In the case of Rhode Island, it can be simply that the voter is not able to go to vote at the appropriate place on Election Day,” Underhill said.For Connecticut, Underhill read the requirements out loud: “It says, ‘Will you be out of town during all the hours to vote on Election Day?'”
 
Are Congressional & Senatorial Term Limits Good Or Bad?
News Talk Florida
A 2006 National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) report, pointedly titled “Coping With Term Limits: A Practical Guide,” lays out many of the consequences of imposing such limits on elected officials. For one thing, term limits are an excellent way to foster more partisan rancor.

Election law doesn't care if Trump (or Clinton) ever concedes
News8000.com – WKBT
In all, 43 states "permit a losing candidate, a voter, a group of voters or other concerned parties to petition for a recount," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But at least a few require the loser to meet some benchmark, like in Idaho where requests are only heard if the margin is less than 0.1%.

Trump Has Forfeited Obamacare for the GOP
BernardGoldberg.com
The numbers don’t lie. In 2008, prior to the passage of the ACA, the average annual premium for families in employer-sponsored plans was $12,680. This year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the average premium for a family is $17,500 — nearly a $5,000 increase
 
NM Supreme Court reviews closed primary system
Ruidoso News
New Mexico is one of nine states with closed primaries, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Californian's Fight Against Illegal College Subsidies for Illegal ...
Patriot Post
To get around the “residence within the state” language, states “maneuver around the [§1623] requirements … [and] have worded the legislation so that it is contingent on high school attendance and graduation, and not based on residency within the state,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
In Anderson area races, two unopposed lawmakers spend most ...
Anderson Independent Mail
State Rep. Brian White reported $12,169 in campaign expenditures since July 1, according to his most recent state disclosure. His expenditures included $1,436 in travel expenses and registration fees for a National Conference of State Legislatures event. 

Oct. 25

From Pot to Guns to Funding: Here’s What’s On The Ballot In Your State
NPR
This round-up is not exhaustive. If you're looking for the rest of the ballot measures in your state, the National Conference of State Legislatures has a database and a state-by-state guide.
 
House defeats plan that would have barred stores from charging fee for recyclable plastic bags
PennLive.com
California became the first state to impose a 10-cent minimum charge for not only the plastic bags but paper ones as well, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. However, a referendum on the November ballot will give voters the opportunity to repeal the tax.
 
New Mexico's top court reconsiders closed primary system
Bryan-College Station Eagle
New Mexico is one of nine states with closed primaries, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Kansas early voters start to make their choices in a wild election
Kansas City Star
Across the United States, 37 states and the District of Columbia offer early voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Many Americans unaware of their states' voter ID laws
Pew Research Center
The National Conference of State Legislatures classifies voter identification laws into three broad categories: There are 18 states plus the District of Columbia that have no identification requirement. Another 22 states “request” identification but provide conditions that permit voters without it to cast a ballot with no additional action on the part of the voter to affirm identity (e.g., voting by provisional ballot, or signing an affidavit of identity). The remaining 10 states have “strict” identification requirements. 

US election explainer: The FT answers 10 key questions
Financial Times
All told, 37 states and the District of Columbia allow early voting without any need to provide a justification, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. By October 19, just over 2.5m people had already voted, according to Michael McDonald, who tracks voting statistics at the University of Florida.
 
In Twin Cities, two-thirds of races are uncontested
TwinCities.com-Pioneer Press
Statewide, each of the 201 seats in the Minnesota Legislature has at least two candidates. Women account for just one-third of legislative candidates, roughly the same ratio as in the current Legislature. Nationally, 24 percent of state lawmakers are women, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Proposal for Nurses Could Expand Access to Care for Veterans
Daily Signal
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks scope of practice, 11 percent of the country’s physicians work in rural areas, but 20 percent of the population lives there.
 
Voters to weigh in on campaign donations
Columbia Daily Tribune
A 2014 U.S. Supreme Court case struck down aggregate limits on individuals’ total donations in federal elections. Limits on spending per state campaign still are in place in 38 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A court challenge is likely if the Missouri proposal is approved.
 
Democrats accuse Republican senators of misusing state and campaign funds
Press Herald
Cushing paid for lodging and airfare for a trip to a summit meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures in Seattle in 2015 by making an expenditure from his Respect Maine PAC. But then he also requested and was paid a $1,796 reimbursement for the same trip by the Secretary of the Senate, according to state documents.
 
'State innovation waivers' bypass some ACA requirements
The Spokesman-Review
Lawmakers on the Idaho Legislature’s health coverage working group are hearing about “innovation waivers” this morning, in a presentation from the National Conference of State Legislatures; these are not the waivers that deal with Medicaid expansion. Instead, these are federal waiver programs that allow innovative state programs providing health coverage, outside of Medicaid, to waive certain requirements of the national Affordable Care Act, including some provisions of the individual and employer mandates. 

Legislature's health coverage gap working group convenes meeting ...
The Spokesman-Review
First up this morning is a presentation from the National Conference of State Legislatures on state innovation waivers, also known as Section 1332 waivers. Also scheduled this morning is a presentation on Medicaid expansion in New Hampshire; that’ll be followed by committee discussion. It’s unclear whether today will be the committee’s last meeting, or whether it’ll meet again.
 
Amid expensive governor's race, voters weigh donation limits
Missouri Lawyers Media
A 2014 U.S. Supreme Court case struck down aggregate limits on individuals’ total donations in federal elections. Limits on spending per state campaign still are in place in 38 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A court challenge is likely if the Missouri proposal is approved.

Oct. 24

Obama Assists 150 State Candidates, Targeting GOP's Grip on Legislatures
New York Times
“This is an opportunity year for the Democrats, and that’s more true now than it was two weeks ago,” said Tim Storey, an elections expert with the National Conference of State Legislatures who tracks state legislative contests. “But the question mark is turnout. The presidential race has made it really hard to know what’s going to get people to the polls or what’s going to keep them away.”
 
Republican Candidates Strain To Hold On To Senate Seats
NPR
Steve Inskeep talks to Tim Storey of the National Council of State Legislatures about the impact of the presidential vote on state races and which ones are important.

Obama's aid to state candidates targets GOP-led legislatures
The Boston Globe
“This is an opportunity year for the Democrats, and that’s more true now than it was two weeks ago,” said Tim Storey, an elections expert with the National Conference of State Legislatures who tracks state legislative contests. “But the question mark is turnout.’’

Sales Tax Slice: States Respond to Hurricane Matthew with Tax Relief
Bloomberg BNA
The National Conference of State Legislatures first proposed a model statute creating this exemption in 2011. South Carolina is currently one of 25 states that have enacted exemptions based on this model statute. (Two of these, Oregon and Delaware, do not impose use tax.)  
 
Russia 'baffled' over US election-watching dispute
Politico
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, those three states are among 12 that directly or indirectly bar foreign observers, including those coming through the OSCE. Louisiana, however, did not frame its rejection in those terms — its letter to Russian officials said state election workers were simply too busy to deal with the request because they were dealing with the fallout from recent flooding.
 
Poll watching expected to spike over Trump claims of election rigging
Houston Chronicle
Texas is among about a dozen states that "explicitly prohibit or restrict international election observers," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Paul Rolly: Utah is looking at legislation that could make the state more relevant
Salt Lake Tribune
Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, who is president of the National Conference of State Legislatures, is heavily involved and may be the Senate sponsor of Eliason's bill. "When I first heard about the idea, my reaction was not just 'no' but 'hell no.' Then I started doing research and learning more about the pros and cons, and now I am solidly on board," Bramble said.
 
No, A DDoS Attack Could Not Swing The Election
BuzzFeed News
Most of the 31 states allow “internet voting” only in the technical sense. They are not casting day-of votes online, but rather emailing or faxing in their ballots in advance. With one exception, this right extends almost exclusively to uniformed service officers overseas, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. It’s not just online voting: It’s extremely hard to hack an election in general. Officials and experts have said talk of the election being hacked or rigged is “hyperbolic.”
 
McGovern: Donald Trump could drag contest into December with challenge
Boston Herald
Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin do not have automatic recounts, but Trump can request one. Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, meanwhile, have automatic recounts when the results are close, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Vox Sentences: The Philippines tries to form an Axis of Deplorables
Vox
Women exceed 35 percent of the state legislature in only three states (plus DC). In six, they make up less than 15 percent. [National Conference of State Legislatures]

Russia wants to observe US voters on Election Day, but 3 states say no
Stars and Stripes
There are 12 states that prohibit international observers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In 2012, officials in two of those states — Texas and Iowa — had threatened to arrest international observers if they came too close to polling places.
 
With a green light from the Feds, states race to regulate driverless cars
TechCrunch
Only nine states—eight by legislation, another by executive action, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures—have established a regulatory framework, even loose, for autonomous vehicles. But none compare to the California scheme, which allows for technologists to take the next step by entirely removing human drivers.
 
Amid expensive governor's race, voters weigh donation limits
Columbia Missourian
A 2014 U.S. Supreme Court case struck down aggregate limits on individuals' total donations in federal elections. Limits on spending per state campaign still are in place in 38 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A court challenge is likely if the Missouri proposal is approved.
 
How Obama's Post-Presidency Could Affect Your State Legislature
Daily Signal 
However, such commissions haven’t always made the process less political, said Wendy Underhill, program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. That’s because even nominally bipartisan commissions frequently have a party advantage. “It’s not necessarily a given it will have a less political outcome just because you have a commission,” Underhill told The Daily Signal. “It depends on the rules and the makeup of the commission.”
 
Russia's request to observe US voters on election day gets a “nyet” from 3 states
Ya Libnan
There are 12 states that prohibit international observers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In 2012, officials in two of those states – Texas and Iowa – had threatened to arrest international observers if they came too close to polling places.
 
2016 ballot a second shot for state marijuana proposals Foe fears ...
Arkansas Online
The federal government is not opposing the efforts of 25 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico, which either allow medical-marijuana use or are in the process of doing so, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Still, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration lists marijuana as a Schedule I drug, same as heroin, LSD and Ecstasy.
 
Election 2016: Questions to answers about Colorado's primary
Greeley Tribune
Around the country, 30 states have some form of an open, or semi-open primary for state and local officials, though the rules vary widely. Additionally, even some states that have open primaries for state and local candidates have different rules for presidential primaries, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.
 
Trial to focus on homeowner's use of force
Huntington Herald Dispatch
According to the National Conference of State Legislators, 23 states have adopted "stand your ground" or Castle Doctrine laws. These laws state individuals have the right to use reasonable force, including deadly, to protect themselves against an intruder in their home.

LePage has a point, citizen initiative is bad way to make law
Lewiston Sun Journal
According to the website of the National Conference of State Legislatures, South Dakota was the first state to adopt the initiative (in 1898), and 24 states now have it, including Maine (though Maine has an indirect version, which gives the Legislature a chance to offer competing or modified versions of the proposed initiative measure).
 
Lt. Gov. Patrick rebrands Texas' 'bathroom bill'
KENS5.com
Nineteen states have considered legislation like this in 2016, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. North Carolina enacted it and ended up losing several big events as a result.
 
Montgomery Co. lets visitors get a peek into US election process
WTOP
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures website, the District of Columbia and 33 states allow for international observers to visit polling places. (Thinkstock)

Local voter registration holds steady
Oneonta Daily Star
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 13 states plus the District of Columbia offer same-day registration, allowing any qualified resident of the state to go to the polls or an election official’s office, either before or on Election Day, register to vote, then cast a ballot, all in that day.
 
Texas to Russian official: Stay out of our polling places
Midland Reporter-Telegram
Texas is one of 12 states that explicitly prohibit or limit international election observers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Healthcare Litigation - October 2016
JD Supra
On the other hand, similar bills proposed in seven other states, including Colorado, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, failed in 2016. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as reported by BNA,1Georgia and other states are studying the issue or considering legislation. Observers predict the bipartisan passage of the California law may boost legislative efforts in other states.2

Pennsylvania Senate Advances Bill That Would Block Access
Reason
If the bill passes, Pennsylvania would become the seventh state to neuter a promising police accountability tool. North Carolina enacted a law in July exempting body cam footage from public records requests. Five other states—Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Oregon, and South Carolina—also exempt police body cam videos under freedom of information laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Does My State Have Same-Day Voter Registration? The 2016 Election Will Be Historical
Bustle
Luckily, for those who are either procrastinators or really busy, there are some states where you can register and vote on Super Tuesday. In fact, currently 13 states and the District of Columbia offer the service, including Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a few more states will offer same-day registration in the future. If you live in Hawaii, after 2018, you'll be able to take advantage of the method, and Vermont will make it available starting in 2017.
 
9 facts about early voting
WFTV
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, early voting as we know it began in the 1970s to make it more convenient for citizens to vote.  However, the first absentee voters in the U.S. were soldiers fighting in the Civil War.
 
States Go Big on Renewables
Transmission and Distribution World
A total of 1,250 proposed renewable energy laws were considered last year and 185 of them were enacted in 42 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, according to a reportby the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The November Ballot: Question 2 – Ethics, ACLU Opposes Referendum
What'sUpNewp
Such bans are not unique, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. At least 11 other states impose blackout periods for filing ethics complaints, including Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

We used to sell cigarettes in hospitals. 5 practices that will soon look just as outdated
Raw Story
While some hospitals are still advising their staff not to apologize, the legal landscape is changing: 36 states and D.C. have passed laws allowing medical staff to apologize to patients without fear of legal reprisal, and seven more states are considering similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Oct. 21

Donald Trump could drag contest into December with challenge
Boston Herald
Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin do not have automatic recounts, but Trump can request one. Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, meanwhile, have automatic recounts when the results are close, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

State Dept. accuses Russia of 'PR stunt' in election-monitoring flap
Politico
At least 12 states either directly or indirectly bar foreign election observers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Sales Tax Slice: States Respond to Hurricane Matthew with Tax Relief
Bloomberg BNA
The National Conference of State Legislatures first proposed a model statute creating this exemption in 2011. South Carolina is currently one of 25 states that have enacted exemptions based on this model statute. (Two of these, Oregon and Delaware, do not impose use tax.)  
 
Lt. Gov. Patrick rebrands Texas' 'bathroom bill'
WFAA.com
Nineteen states have considered legislation like this in 2016, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. North Carolina enacted it and ended up losing several big events as a result.
 
Low cost of electricity in the state discourages solar energy ...
Jamestown Sun
South Dakota has the same voluntary objective as North Dakota, while Montana and Minnesota have required renewable energy standards, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The organization said 29 states have mandatory Renewable Portfolio Standards, eight have voluntary goals and 13 have no renewable energy standards or target.
 
ELECTION 2016: Hendricks, Toepel vie for 147th District seat
The Reporter
She received a Women in Politics Making a Difference Award from the National Conference of State Legislatures for a legislator shadowing program with Montgomery County Community College for female students at Montco, she said.
 
HJR 5: Question of balance
Coeur d'Alene Press
“The premise of the U.S. Supreme Court case, as well as the premises of those decided by the state courts, has been that legislative veto of rules constitutes an amendment to statutory authority,” Brenda Erickson with the National Conference of State Legislatures told The Associated Press. “Therefore, to be constitutional, the Legislature’s veto of rules must be accomplished through passage by both houses with presentment to the executive.”

Oct. 20

'Too Busy' to Vote? Now You Can't Blame Your Boss
Bloomberg
And going to the polls on Election Day, or at all, is quickly going out of style entirely. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 37 states and the District of Columbia have some form of early voting, which, unlike many absentee ballot options, doesn’t require a specific excuse (military, overseas citizen, unable to travel), the conference said. In fact, the NCSL said 27 states and the District of Columbia permit any qualified voter to use an absentee ballot without an excuse.
 
Where the Maine race stands ahead of Trump and Clinton's last debate
Bangor Daily News
The expenses related to Cushing’s 2014 and 2015 trips to Seattle and Minneapolis for meetings of the National Conference of State Legislatures, for which Cushing personally was approved for more than $3,100 in legislative reimbursements.
 
Donald Trump's plan for term limits would only make Congress worse
ThinkProgress
A 2006 National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) report, pointedly titled “Coping With Term Limits: A Practical Guide,” lays out many of the consequences of imposing such limits on elected officials. For one thing, term limits are an excellent way to foster more partisan rancor.
 
Why Felons Can't Vote
Urbanmilwaukee
News21’s analysis of data from the National Conference of State Legislatures found 316 bills nationwide that would have allowed more access to voting for felons. Republican-controlled legislatures blocked 137, another 101 failed to pass in states with divided control, and 65 were unsuccessful in Democratic-controlled legislatures. Maryland’s Republican governor vetoed one bill.
 
In Colorado, a Ballot Measure to End All the Anti-Fracking Ballot ...
InsideClimate News
Colorado is the only state where it is as easy for citizens to change the constitution—the state's highest law and foundational document—as it is to change a law, the Raise the Bar coalition says. Although comparisons are difficult because each state's constitutional amendment process is unique, Colorado's is "at the easier end of the spectrum," says Wendy Underhill, elections program manager for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
15 States Moved to Defund Planned Parenthood After Undercover Video Release
Charisma News
As of September, 22 states have both Republican governors and Republican-controlled legislatures, Democrats control eight states, 19 states are split, and one state has a unicameral and nonpartisan legislature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
At Auburn forum, candidates seeking to succeed Nozzolio disagree ...
Auburn Citizen
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states and the District of Columbia allow recall elections for state officials. More than half of states — the number could be as high as 36 — permit voters to recall local elected officials. 

For Maine law enforcement, no liftoff on drones for doing police work
Press Herald
Twenty-two states, including Maine, have passed legislation addressing privacy concerns and drones. Eighteen states have passed laws requiring law enforcement agencies to seek a warrant before using a drone in criminal investigations, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Oct. 19

APNewsBreak: US Citizen Born in Refugee Camp Sues to Marry
ABC News
It's not clear whether the lawsuit could have implications outside of the state. Neither the law's critics nor officials with the National Conference of State Legislatures are aware of such legislation elsewhere, although NCSL spokesman Mick Bullock noted that the organization doesn't closely track marriage license requirements.

Voting Rights: New Laws, New Cases After US Supreme Court Ruling
Bloomberg Big Law Business
The National Conference of State Legislatures has a database of changes in state election laws and a breakdown of state voter identification requirements.

Marc Faber: Hillary Win a Risk to Markets, so Buy Gold Now
Newsmax
Insana recently told the opening General Session of the National Conference of State Legislatures that “the November election stands as a big uncertainty for the economy. It’s like nothing we’ve ever seen.”
 
Voter Guide: Missouri Constitutional Amendment No. 6 voter ID
KFVS
If the voter in Missouri does not show identification, then they are allowed to vote if at least two election officials can identify the person.
 
Brown, Weiland campaign for open House District 9 seat
Wyoming Tribune
(Wyoming is one of a number of states that allow public employees to become legislators, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.)
 
Rome Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, Rep. Katie Dempsey file reports detailing campaign finance activity
Northwest Georgia News
The remaining $6,000 or so went for campaign travel — including to the Southern Legislative Conference in Lexington, Kentucky, and the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver — and to local nonprofits.

Online Gambling Hearing Sets Stage For Legalization Push In ...
US Poker
Another point Brubaker wants to make is something he first brought up at the National Conference of State Legislatures conference in Chicago. “Where’s the fire?” Brubaker told USP. “What is the urgency in shoving bills through general assemblies when most legislators have no idea about what this industry is?”
 
If the election is really rigged, 33 states are rigged by Republicans
ThinkProgress
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 26 states have an elected secretary of state or lieutenant governor who oversee elections and 7 more have those officials share authority with a commission or board. Eight more states have a chief official selected by the legislature or governor; the rest are run by an appointed electoral commission of some sort.
 
Changes to voting laws usually fail
HNGnews.com
News21’s analysis of data from the National Conference of State Legislatures found 316 bills nationwide that would have allowed more access to voting for felons. Republican-controlled legislatures blocked 137, another 101 failed to pass in states with divided control, and 65 were unsuccessful in Democratic-controlled legislatures. Maryland’s Republican governor vetoed one bill.
 
Heads out of your phones, look both ways!
UND The Dakota Student
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) website, in the section about pedestrian crossings within the state of North Dakota, “Pedestrians may not suddenly leave the curb and enter a crosswalk into the path of a moving vehicle that is so close to constitute an immediate hazard.”

Oct. 18

Donald Trump Shifts 'Rigged' Talk to Immigrants' Votes
Wall Street Journal
Nationwide, from 2002 to 2007, when the Justice Department was giving priority to election-crime enforcement, it obtained 86 total convictions, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.

Calling For Debate Drug Tests Is Very Republican Of Donald Trump
Huffington Post
Republicans in at least 15 states have added drug screening requirements to safety net programs since 2011, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Seventeen more states have seen additional proposals so far this year. Republicans in the U.S. Congress have also pushed to change federal law to make it easier for states to enact drug screening requirements for various forms of public assistance.
 
The High School Graduation Rate Reaches A Record High — Again
NPR
On the economics front, "We knew that 63 percent of jobs in the next decade would require some postsecondary education," says Sunny Deye, who works on education policy for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "There was an understanding that the way we were preparing kids for the 21st century economy needed to change. We had to shift the paradigm from allowing some kids to drop out to recognizing that a high school diploma was now the bar."

Trump and Allies Raise Concerns About Voter Intimidation
ABC News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, partisan observers, or poll watchers, are “not supposed to interfere in the electoral process apart from reporting issues to polling place authorities and party officials.”

Calling For Debate Drug Tests Is Very Republican Of Donald Trump
Huffington Post
Republicans in at least 15 states have added drug screening requirements to safety net programs since 2011, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Seventeen more states have seen additional proposals so far this year.

Big data on campus
Network World
Indiana is one of the 30 or so states that have performance-based funding models, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Therefore, the state funding Purdue receives is determined in part by its overall graduation rate, its on-time (four-year) graduation rate, the number of degrees it awards, the number of degrees it awards in high-demand majors and its transfer metrics.
 
Voter fraud, perceptions and political spin: Research roundup
Journalist's Resource
Those who fear fraud often propose voter-identification requirements as a solution. Over 30 states have some sort of voter-identification law, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures. These laws require registered voters to provide identification (or in some cases merely allow the poll worker to ask for ID, even if it is not required) in order to receive a ballot on Election Day.
 
America bags its pollution problem
The Daily Titan
Out of the 50 states, not including territories, the U.S. has some form of a plastic ban legislation in only eight states, including California, according to The National Conference of State Legislatures.

Oct. 17

Assisted-Suicide Fight Moves to Colorado
Wall Street Journal
If it passes, Colorado would be the fifth state to have a law that allows the practice, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
America bags its pollution problem
The Daily Titan
Out of the 50 states, not including territories, the U.S. has some form of a plastic ban legislation in only eight states, including California, according to The National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Kansas voters to decide hunting, fishing rights amendment
KMBC Kansas City
IN OTHER STATES: According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states have constitutional provisions guaranteeing the right to hunt and fish. Vermont's language dates to 1777; the guarantees in the other 18 states have passed since 1996. California and Rhode Island have language in their constitutions guaranteeing the right to fish, but not to hunt. Indiana voters also will decide Nov. 8 whether to amend its constitution to include the right to hunt and fish. Missouri and at least five other states introduced legislation on this issue in 2016, but those measures did not pass.
 
Legislators' pay to increase by $1700
Knoxville News Sentinel
Nationally, state legislator salaries vary widely, according to figures compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. An NCSL chart for 2016 indicates California has the highest base salary, $100,113. Texas at $7,500 is among the lowest in legislator salary. Mississippi and South Carolina both have base legislator salaries of $10,000 per year.
 
Drug dealing penalties gaining attention
Huntington Herald Dispatch
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than a third of states have amended drug penalties in the past five years. However, the amendments have switched to show support for reducing penalties for low-level offenders and opening up treatment-based alternatives for defendants in an effort to preserve costly prison space.

New businesses sprout to support the medical marijuana industry
Crain's Detroit Business
Michigan is one of 25 states, along with Washington, D.C., and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and Guam, to decriminalize marijuana use for medical reasons, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California was the first state to allow medicinal uses of the drug through a voter-approved initiative in 1996.
  
Pennsylvania's medical marijuana rollout a slow process
lehighvalleylive.com
Twenty-five states have comprehensive programs, and an additional 17 have laws that permit limited access to marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Senator wants nationwide, all-mail voting to counter election hacks
Ars Technica
The only states to hold all elections entirely by mail are Oregon, Washington, and Colorado, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. More than a dozen others have various provisions for mail voting. The National Conference of State Legislatures has a breakdown here on how Americans cast their votes across the union.

Indiana, Kansas voters face constitutional right to hunt and fish ballot ...
Guns.com
Similar measures have been advanced in Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey and New York this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. No less than 19 states have such language in their constitution, dating back to Vermont who included it in 1777. Most recently, Mississippi and Alabama both added it through the voter-driven amendment process in 2014.

Medical marijuana rollout a slow process
Observer-Reporter
Twenty-five states have comprehensive programs, and an additional 17 have laws that permit limited access to marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Surge in highway deaths prompts calls for lower speed limits
The Providence Journal
Since then, 38 states have raised the speed limit to 70 mph or higher, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some states, including Montana, Nevada, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming, have boosted the maximum speed to 80 mph.

Legislators' pay to increase by $1700
The Tennessean
Nationally, state legislator salaries vary widely, according to figures compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. An NCSL chart for 2016 indicates California has the highest base salary, $100,113. Texas at $7,500 is among the lowest in legislator salary. Mississippi and South Carolina both have base legislator salaries of $10,000 per year

Oct. 14

Insurers not interested in selling ObamaCare across state lines
The Hill
Only three states have approved those laws — Kentucky, Georgia and Maine — although none have actually made deals with other states to sell their plans, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Real ID law facing backlash from states refusing to comply
Washington Times
More than a dozen states have passed laws blocking their departments of motor vehicles from complying with the law — Oklahoma, Maine, Pennsylvania and South Carolina among them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
After law change, children begin receiving medical marijuana
The CT Mirror
Connecticut legalized the use of marijuana for palliative purposes for adults in 2012 but was, until this year, the only state with a comprehensive medical marijuana program that did not allow access for minors, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.

State justices: Rx-'pot' votes to be counted
Arkansas Online
Twenty-five states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico either allow medical-marijuana use or are in the process of doing so, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
EDITORIAL: Former felons deserve the right to vote
The Northwest Florida Daily News
The push to make Florida’s process easier has gained support across the spectrum of political thought, from the liberal-leaning Brennan Center to the conservative Heritage Foundation. The National Conference of State Legislatures has taken the issue on, as have several law-enforcement organizations.

Oct. 13

Ask Brianna: How can I afford to have kids?
Chicago Tribune
The Family Medical Leave Act allows employees of private companies with 50 or more workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child, meaning you can keep your job but won't get a paycheck. Some states provide a more generous benefit: California, New Jersey and Rhode Island offer paid family leave, as will New York starting Jan. 1, 2018, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Ask your employer about your company's leave options, too.

Top Pa. House Republican touts expanding private school tax credits in visit to Philly
Newsworks.org
But the lack of information concerning these programs is not unique to Pennsylvania. "There's not a lot of data out there," said Josh Cunningham, a policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Officials say claims of voter fraud is all talk
News-Press Now
According to the National conference on state legislatures from 2002 to 2007 the Justice Department obtained 86 total election crime convictions.
 
Seeking Civil Rights Protection for NJ Women Who Breastfeed
NJ Spotlight
All states — except Idaho — plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico legally permit mothers to breastfeed in any public or private location, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. New Jersey’s law, approved in 1997, protects a woman’s right to nurse in any public place, including resorts or amusement parks.
 
Elimination of expense accounts led to rise of secretive funds
MLive.com
According to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures, Michigan is one of 22 states that bar corporations from giving directly to candidates.

Texas works because state government is limited by design
Tyler Morning Telegraph
“Serving in the Texas legislature isn’t a realistic job option for most working professionals,” Cassidy writes. “It only pays $600 per month, plus $150 per diem for expenses, but it’s too time-consuming to be a side job. Some CEOs and a few small-business owners - accountants, salesmen, consultants - can adjust their schedules to accommodate service in Austin, but their ranks are thin. According to the National Conference of State Legislators, 26 percent of Texas legislators are lawyers - twice the national average.”
  
Secretive funds allow Michigan lawmakers to accept corporate cash
MLive.com
In Michigan and 21 other states, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures, direct corporate contributions to candidates' campaign are illegal.
 
CDC to Require Airplane Personnel to Report 'Unwell' Travelers
The Epoch Times
Among state laws, only Georgia explicitly allows people under quarantine or isolation orders access to legal representation and the ability to challenge those orders in court, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Women are urged to get into politics
Jackson Hole News&Guide
Today just 13 percent of the state Legislature is female, with only one female state senator, Bernadine Craft, and 11 female members of the state House of Representatives. Five are Democrats. According to the National Conference of Legislatures, 12 female state legislators ranks as the lowest total of any state in the union.
 
Solar split: How a new petition is dividing rooftop and utility-scale ...
Utility Dive
There are plans in place to engage “at a more granular level” with groups like the National Governors Association, the Western Governors Association, and the National Conference of State Legislatures “to make sure people in the states who are actually making policy understand solar views,” Whitten added.

Free College? Minter Proposes; Scott Skeptical
Seven Days
Meanwhile, free, state-sponsored tuition programs have started popping up around the country. Tennessee, Minnesota and Oregon have launched scholarships within the last couple years. Kentucky has passed legislation to join them, and 12 other states have similar legislation pending, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Oct. 12

Trump Renews Warning About 'Stolen' Election
Wall Street Journal
Evidence of the type of election fraud Mr. Trump seems to be worried about—unqualified people impersonating voters—is scant. From 2002 to 2007, when the Justice Department was giving priority to election-crime enforcement, it obtained 86 total convictions, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures. A 2012 study by the Government Accountability Office found no voter impersonation cases over the past decade. Laws requiring voters to show photo identification and other requirements have proliferated since Republicans took over a majority of state capitols in 2010. Thirty-four states now request or require voters to show some form of identification at the polls—including 10 that passed measures after 2012, according to the NCSL.
 
Ask Brianna: How can I afford to have kids?
Washington Post
The Family Medical Leave Act allows employees of private companies with 50 or more workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child, meaning you can keep your job but won’t get a paycheck. Some states provide a more generous benefit: California, New Jersey and Rhode Island offer paid family leave, as will New York starting Jan. 1, 2018, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures . Ask your employer about your company’s leave options, too.
 
Louisiana denying marriage licenses to some immigrants
NOLA.com
Louisiana could be an outlier when it comes to this type of restriction on marriage. Similar barriers don't exist in nearby Mississippi and Alabama. Officials with the National Conference of State Legislatures said they aren't aware of a similar provision in other states, though they don't track marriage license requirements closely. 
 
Early voting looms as key election factor
Constitution Daily
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 37 states and the District of Columbia will allow early voting in 2016 with no excuses or justification required. The group also says that all 50 states and the federal district allow absentee voting, and some 20 states require a reason for that request. And three states – Colorado, Oregon and Washington – mail ballots to all eligible voters.

Don't wait! Voter registration deadline in Oklahoma approaching
kfor.com
Also: According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, you must provide an ID or your voter registration card, otherwise you have to use a provisional ballot.
 
Tech companies like TaskRabbit are engaged in affirmative action, and that’s ok
TechCrunch
“Affirmative action policies are those in which an institution or organization actively engages in efforts to improve opportunities for historically excluded groups in American society,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. “Affirmative action policies often focus on employment and education. In institutions of higher education, affirmative action refers to admission policies that provide equal access to education for those groups that have been historically excluded or underrepresented, such as women and minorities.”
 
City Commission considering ban of cellphones while driving
Northwest Georgia News
Georgia law prohibits texting while driving. Efforts to ban cellphone use have failed so far, but at least 14 states have enacted one, according to the National Con¬ference of State Legislatures.
 
Legislative attempts to make it easier for felons to vote almost always fail
Superior Telegram
News21's analysis of data from the National Conference of State Legislatures found 316 bills nationwide that would have allowed more access to voting for felons. Republican-controlled legislatures blocked 137, another 101 failed to pass in states with divided control, and 65 were unsuccessful in Democratic-controlled legislatures. Maryland's Republican governor vetoed one bill.

Oct. 11

Unions Fight Ballot Efforts to Constitutionalize Right to Work
Governing
Twenty-six states have right-to-work laws on the books, but only 10 of them have such provisions in their state constitutions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Meanwhile, some of the recently passed laws, like the ones in Wisconsin and West Virginia, are being challenged in court.

Critics claim poll-watcher bill is a bid to disrupt elections
Philly.com
U.S. states have different rules on whether poll watchers must be registered to vote in the county or precinct or just somewhere in the state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Roadblock or hit the gas pedal?
Kingsport Times News
Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have raised their gas tax or adjusted their tax formula since 2013 to bring in more revenue for transportation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). “Many states are considering new approaches and diversifying their revenue sources by integrating more sales taxes, vehicle taxes and fees, general funds, bonding, etc. into the mix,” according to NCSL. “They’re also thinking about how to create new transportation user funds, by investigating the feasibility of road use charges for drivers, tolling, fees and taxes for alternative vehicles that don’t use gasoline, private-public partnerships and other emerging strategies. These just may be the next big ideas.”

Take two: Obscure initiative reappears on Idaho ballot
Rexburg Standard Journal
“The premise of the U.S. Supreme Court case, as well as the premises of those decided by the state courts, has been that legislative veto of rules constitutes an amendment to statutory authority,” Brenda Erickson with the National Conference of State Legislatures wrote in an email to The Associated Press. “Therefore, to be constitutional, the legislature’s veto of rules must be accomplished through passage by both houses with presentment to the executive.”
 
Analysis: Register to vote and give yourself an option for Election Day
KGBT-TV
Voting works the same way. Texas is one of 37 states that don’t allow voters to register at the same time and place where they vote (three more have enacted same-day registration but don’t yet have it in place, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures).
 
They're locked up, but not locked out of voting
The Sun Herald
In 38 states and the District of Columbia, most ex-felons automatically regain the right to vote upon completion of their sentence, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Eleven states permanently prohibit some or all felons from voting, barring a pardon or other government action.

Oct. 10

Fact check: Trump's and Clinton's false and misleading claims in second debate
USA TODAY
All of the provisions she rattled off were indeed part of the ACA. And it’s true that the law extended policies nationwide allowing young adults under age 26 to remain on their parents’ plans. That provision took effect in September 2010. But 31 states had similar measures in effect before then, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. “Before implementation of the ACA, at least 31 states required carriers to extend coverage to young adults,” the NCSL states. “The age at which insurers were no longer required to provide coverage to young adults under their guardians’ plans varied by state. Additionally, some states required certain conditions to be met by young adults in order to be eligible for coverage under their guardians’ plans. For example, a number of states required that young adults be unmarried in order to qualify

Assistant principal charged with murder and feticide in death of pregnant school administrator
Washington Post
Louisiana is one of 38 states that allow for homicide charges for the death of a fetus, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Critics claim poll-watcher bill is a bid to disrupt elections
Philly.com
U.S. states have different rules on whether poll watchers must be registered to vote in the county or precinct or just somewhere in the state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
New data on highway deaths suggest that Congress needs to revisit speed limits, advocates say
Washington Post
Since then, 38 states have raised the speed limit to 70 mph or higher, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some states, including Montana, Nevada, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming, have boosted the maximum speed to 80 mph.
 
Take two: Obscure initiative reappears on Idaho ballot
Washington Times
“The premise of the U.S. Supreme Court case, as well as the premises of those decided by the state courts, has been that legislative veto of rules constitutes an amendment to statutory authority,” Brenda Erickson with the National Conference of State Legislatures wrote in an email to The Associated Press. “Therefore, to be constitutional, the legislature’s veto of rules must be accomplished through passage by both houses with presentment to the executive.”

Michelle Obama coming to NH Thursday for Clinton campaign event
The Boston Globe
She also will remind voters that New Hampshire offers same-day voter registration, the statement said. The Granite State is one of 14 that allow residents to register and cast their ballot on Election Day, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.

Experts say few options for GOP to oust Trump
USA TODAY
Thirty seven states, plus Washington, D.C., offer some form of early voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some begin 45 days before Election Day.  Many states also allow mail-in absentee ballots.

California is making it easier than ever to vote
Sacramento Bee
“When two-thirds of states do one thing and one-third of states do another, those are two significant camps,” said Wendy Underhill, who tracks states’ voting rules for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Two federal courts recently ruled that Wisconsin’s ID requirement risked disenfranchising voters who had a hard time getting the required forms of ID. Other courts have ruled against the laws in Texas and North Carolina. In the latter case, the court wrote that North Carolina’s rules targeted “African-Americans with almost surgical precision.”
 
Families, witnesses mark one year since NAU shooting
Arizona Daily Sun
A report by the National Conference of State Legislatures states lists 18 states that outright ban concealed weapons on college campuses. Doug Brough said it is time for all states to pass legislation banning guns on college campuses.
 
AP news guide: Vaccination rates among Pennsylvania's kids
SFGate
Pennsylvania is one of 18 states that allow philosophical exemptions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Limited data support Gina Raimondo's claim that motorists save when illegal immigrants get licenses
PolitiFact
The National Conference of State Legislatures lists 12 states — California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Vermont and Washington — along with the District of Columbia that issue licenses to unauthorized immigrants.

EDITORIAL: Voting rights vary across US
York Dispatch
Most states put some restriction on felon voting, but many return those rights automatically at the completion of a prison sentence or probation. Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia automatically give some, or most, ex-felons their voting rights back upon the completion of their sentence, according to an April report from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US
Truth-Out
"With Oregon opening the door, being the first to pass and implement automatic voter registration, more and more states are looking at it," said Dan Diorio, policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Chicago Battling Not Only Violence But Heroin Epidemic As Well, the City is ‘Ground Zero’
The Inquisitr
“Some states tracked it more than others,” said Karmen Hanson, a health policy manager at the National Conference of State Legislators.
 
CDC releases vaccination rates among Pa. children
Carlisle Sentinel
Pennsylvania is one of 18 states that allow philosophical exemptions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Pay raise for NY legislators faces fight
WGRZ.com
California state lawmakers make $100,000, and the pay is $85,339 in Pennsylvania, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Attempts to let felons vote typically fail
The Sheboygan Press
News21’s analysis of data from the National Conference of State Legislatures found 316 bills nationwide that would have allowed more access to voting for felons. Republican-controlled legislatures blocked 137, another 101 failed to pass in states with divided control, and 65 were unsuccessful in Democratic-controlled legislatures. Maryland’s Republican governor vetoed one bill.

Oct. 7

Chicago Battles Violent Crime Rise and Heroin Epidemic
NBCNews
"Some states tracked it more than others," said Karmen Hanson, a health policy manager at the National Conference of State Legislators. "Recently, a lot more states are taking actions to track heroin overdoses more closely then they have in the past because of all the attention from media and the public."

Trump Supporters are Mocked for Believing the 'Election is Rigged.' But Here's Evidence It Actually Is
Independent Journal Review
(NCSL Info Cited) 

Ballot admission price: $48 million
Capitol Weekly
Because turnout was so low for the last governor’s election, this year’s propositions only needed 585,407 signatures for a constitutional amendment and 365,880 signatures for statutes. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that if a campaign can afford to pay signature gatherers, it has “a nearly 100 percent chance of qualifying for the ballot in many states.”
 
Why It's So Hard to Get Solar in Florida (That'd Be the Sunshine State)
WIRED
That 24 hours a day thing might seem like a weird technicality, but it speaks to a real concern for power companies. Utilities don’t just generate electricity. They build the infrastructure—power lines, transmission stations, transformers—that brings it to your house. “All users pay a percentage in their bill to cover the cost of those systems, maintaining that system,” says Jocelyn Durkay, the energy senior policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nonpartisan policy analysis group based in Denver. “But having a solar rooftop system may result in a customer’s bill being virtually zero.”

Lawmaker, lawyers say Traffic Tribunal overstepped in GPS case
The Providence Journal
If upheld, the tribunal’s reading of the law would make Rhode Island the only state in the nation to ban any manipulation of a cellphone by drivers, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures. However, talking on a cellphone — an activity that many other states prohibit unless a hands-free device is used — is still allowed.
 
Early voting already underway in US presidential race
Raw Story
– In person. Voting booths, for example in county administration offices, are open early with varying degrees of access, in 37 states and the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Matthew Rohrbach: Four-part plan could aid state's economy
Huntington Herald Dispatch
Our state is currently in a great deal of trouble economically. Recently the National Conference of State Legislatures ranked our economy last among the 50 states. We simply have to do better if we are going to move our state forward.

Oct. 6

Foreign election observers to cast their eyes on the US presidential vote
Washington Post
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 12 states prohibit international observers. Among them are Texas and Iowa, where in 2012 state officials threatened to arrest OSCE monitors if they set foot in any polling place. Tennessee has a law forbidding observers from the United Nations, which has a partnership arrangement with the OSCE.
 
Early voting underway in US presidential race
News24
In person. Voting booths, for example in county administration offices, are open early with varying degrees of access, in 37 states and the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Lobbying for change
Buffalo Bulletin
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that in 2014 Wyoming lost out on $61.7 million in sales tax revenues to catalog and online sellers that cannot collect sales taxes on purchases by Wyoming residents and businesses.
 
From the October Issue: Subscribing to Submetering
Multi-Housing News
In the meantime, the National Conference of State Legislatures weighed in by declaring that submetering can be managed by non-electricity-, gas- or water-producing third-party entities that resell utilities to customers behind the utility meter.
  
Campaign finance reforms would benefit Miss.
Hattiesburg American
The position of the National Conference of State Legislatures is instructive. NCSL, in which several Mississippi legislators have played important roles, says, “The most common means of regulating political spending is through various disclosure and reporting requirements.”
 
Rep. Devin Seeks Third Consecutive Term in House
The Lincoln County News
Maine Speaker of the House Mark Eves has appointed Devin to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ standing committee on natural resources and infrastructure, to the Maine Surface Water Ambient Toxics Monitoring Program board, and to the Ocean Acidification Commission as co-chairman.

Oct. 5

How to Register and Vote
NBCNews.com
— To find out about what identification, if any, your state requires, go to this page on the website of the Non-partisan National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
ECU professor plans to carry firearm on campus to exercise her constitutional rights
WITN
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, eight states now have provisions allowing the carrying of concealed weapons on public post-secondary campuses.
 
How can a criminal record haunt you? Take our quiz to test your knowledge
NOLA.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are nine states that require a governor's pardon or court action to restore a felon's voting rights. Several states, including California, New York, and Texas automatically restore these rights after someone is no longer under court supervision. Only two states — Vermont and Maine — allow people to vote while behind bars.
 
Commission to consider regulating marijuana
Daily Commercial
California was the first state to allow the medical use of marijuana in 1996, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. The National Conference of State Legislators reported that 24 states that have enacted similar laws.

STIs rank high in Mississippi
The Reflector online
A legislation document provided on the National Conference of State Legislatures’ website also shows five bills to revise sex education failed in Mississippi this year.

Oct. 4

Republicans Have Gained Strength in State Legislatures and Governorships
Voice of America
Tim Storey is an expert on the U.S. elections at the National Conference of State Legislatures. He notes that Republicans have been slowly gaining control of the South for the past 25 years. “By 2008, Republicans had gained 46 percent of all seats in Southern legislatures, and today they hold 63 percent of the seats” and every governorship, he added.
 
Blue States Pursue Public Option Using Obamacare 'Innovation’ Waivers, as Red States Proceed With Caution
Daily Signal
The waivers become available at the start of 2017. Nine states have enacted laws related to Section 1332 waivers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Connecticut Wants Researchers To Study Medical Marijuana
WAMC
The National Conference of State Legislatures says there are roughly 10 states with laws allowing research of medical marijuana. However, some of those are hindered by federal rules concerning medical marijuana research.

SC residents favor legalizing medical pot, poll says
Island Packet
Medical marijuana is legal in 25 states, Guam, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That legalization effort started in California in 1996.

Revolving Door? Ethics Board Says Vincent Orange Free To Lobby D.C. Council
WAMU 88.5
According to the National Conference on State Legislatures, at least 33 states have cooling-off periods for former elected officials. In Maryland, a former legislator can't lobby the General Assembly until after the end of the next legislative session that follows when they leave office. In Virginia, the cooling-off period lasts one year.

This New England state wants researchers to begin studying its ...
The Cannabist
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are roughly 10 states, including a couple without medical marijuana programs, with laws allowing some sort of research. Some projects are funded through excise taxes or licensing fees. But Karmen Hanson, a program manager at NCSL, said some of the studies can’t really function because of concerns that participating universities might lose federal financial support by conducting research that could be considered illegal by federal authorities.
 
Vermont receives preliminary approval for all-payer health system
Healthcare Dive
However, Vermont's proposed model would be somewhat unique in using the pay-for-performance model, the National Conference of State Legislatures told Vermont Public Radio. It would have government and private payerspaying physicians monthly fees for patient care rather than paying them per service.

Oct. 3

GOP Faces Challenge to Its State Legislature Dominance
Wall Street Journal
Thirteen of the 18 chambers most likely to see the opposition party win control are held by Republicans, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks state-level races and bills.

Hunting, fishing amendment bid backed by NRA
Chicago Tribune
Kansas voters also will be asked to weigh in on a similar proposed amendment, while similar legislation is pending in Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey and New York, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The protection is already a part of 19 other state constitutions.
 
Vermont Is Moving Toward 'All-Payer' Health Care. Here's What That Means
Vermont Public Radio
Actually, many states used to use some form of rate regulation for health care costs. According to a 2010 policy brief from the National Conference of State Legislatures, a version of all-payer was all the rage in the 1970s but was slowly phased out as most states decided to use a more free-market approach for health care costs. (That earlier version of all-payer was not a “pay-for-performance” model; it simply required that everyone paying doctors pay the same amount to a given doctor for a given service, no matter who was paying the doctor. That is no longer the case – Medicaid and private insurance companies often pay very different amounts for the same procedures.

Connecticut wants researchers to study its medical marijuana
The Bellingham Herald
The medical marijuana programs around the country have already prompted some state-based research into the drug. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are roughly 10 states, including a couple without medical marijuana programs, with laws allowing some sort of research. Some projects are funded through excise taxes or licensing fees. But Karmen Hanson, a program manager at NCSL, said some of the studies can't really function because of concerns that participating universities might lose federal financial support by conducting research that could be considered illegal by federal authorities.

IN Focus: Candidates for governor debate education, economy
Fox 59
The candidates were also asked by a high school sophomore whether undocumented students living in Indiana should be able to receive in-state tuition. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Indiana is one of three states that prohibit undocumented students from receiving in-state tuition.
 
Initiative seeks to get corporate money out of politics
The Seattle Times
California also has an “undo Citizens United” measure on its ballot this year, said Wendy Underhill, an elections director at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Poll: SC residents favor medical pot
Spartanburg Herald Journal
Medical marijuana is legal in 25 states, Guam, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That legalization effort started in California in 1996.
 
Tapping cellphone GPS is the same as texting while driving, RI ...
Fall River Herald News
If upheld, the tribunal's reading of the law would make Rhode Island the only state in the nation to ban any manipulation of a cellphone by drivers, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures. However, talking on a cellphone — an activity that many other states prohibit unless a hands-free device is used — is still allowed.
 
Early Voting Increases Turnout 2 to 4 Percent, Boosts Voting Among ...
AlterNet
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 37 states now offer voters some way to cast ballots early and avoid lining up at the polls on Election Day.
 
What Kind Of ID Do You Need To Vote? It Depends On Where You ...
Romper
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 34 states currently have laws that require voters to show some form of identification when they arrive at the polls (although two of those states — North Carolina and West Virginia — technically won't require it in the election in November). The remaining states have other verification procedures, like checking a signature, or signing an affidavit.
 
SC residents favor legalizing medical pot, poll says
The Herald
Medical marijuana is legal in 25 states, Guam, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That legalization effort started in California in 1996. Since 2012, four states – Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington – and D.C. also have legalized the use of pot for recreational purposes.

OURS: Good, bad of payday-loan measures
Rapid City Journal
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only two states have chosen to not regulate the payday loan industry — Idaho and South Dakota. In addition to Georgia, three states prohibit the practice — Arizona, Arkansas and North Carolina. Of the states that do regulate the industry, most cap the interest rate at well below 36 percent.
 
Initiative seeks to get big money out of political campaigns
Kitsap Sun
California also has an "undo Citizens United" measure on its ballot this year, said Wendy Underhill, an elections director at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
$90 million Metropolitan Community College expansion aims to ...
Omaha World-Herald
Nationwide, two-year colleges such as Metro are recognized as playing key roles in business, industry and economic strength. “Community colleges are integral to growing state economies, educating the workforce and providing opportunities for thousands of students,” the National Conference of State Legislatures wrote in August.