August 9, 2012
State Lawmakers Set Focus for Year Ahead, Vote on Policies to Guide NCSL’s Advocacy in Washington
CHICAGO – State legislators voted on polices that will guide the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C. in the year ahead. In order for a policy directive or resolution to pass, it must receive a three-fourths majority. While the policies range in focus, they are bound by a belief that the state-federal partnership operates best when states are not hindered by preemptive restrictions and unfunded mandates. The votes were taken on Aug. 9, the final day of NCSL’s annual Legislative Summit in Chicago, Ill.
Among the policy directives passed was a statement of NCSL’s viewpoint on federalism. The policy directive states, “Our American federalism creatively unites states with unique cultural, political, and social diversity into a strong nation. The Tenth Amendment is the cornerstone of constitutional federalism and reserves broad powers to the states and to the people. Federalism protects liberty, enhances accountability and fosters innovation with less risk to the nation.”
A full list of policy directives and resolutions is available on NCSL's website broken down committee. Below are summaries of some of the positions voted on at the NCSL business meeting.
Federal Deficit Reduction and the Effect on States: Urges the federal government not to disproportionately cut state-federal programs or add new unfunded mandates in their effort to reduce the nation’s debt.
State Sovereignty in Online Gaming: Opposes any congressional effort to preempt state authority by legalizing or regulating online gambling at the federal level.
Marketplace Fairness Act: Supports passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act (S. 1832) and Marketplace Equity Act (H.R. 3179), which would give states the authority to collect owed sales taxes from remote sales.
Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA): Calls on Congress to reauthorize ESEA, and includes specific recommendations based on NCSL positions.
Immigration: Emphasizes the importance of federal immigration reform that enhances our border security, stresses the importance of fair employment verification, creates temporary worker programs, and promotes citizenship as a national priority.
Climate Change: As Congress and the administration examine proposals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, NCSL urges the federal government to consult with state officials, their national representative organizations, and existing interstate partnerships in developing a federal program.
Energy Security: Urges Congress to direct the U.S. Department of Energy through the national laboratories and technology centers to develop a national energy strategy for moving the United States toward independence from non-North American energy sources. The new policy directive focuses on the state-federal relationship regarding policies that will ensure a secure, stable and reliable energy future for the United States.
Medicaid Expansion Options: Urges Congress to afford maximum flexibility to states and to permit states to implement some, but not all of the expansion provisions without penalty.
NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.