August 15, 2013
State Lawmakers Vote on States’ Agenda for Year Ahead
ATLANTA—As the 39th annual NCSL Legislative Summit in Atlanta came to a close, state legislators voted on polices that will guide the organization’s 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.
State lawmakers reiterated their concerns that the federal government will disproportionately cut state-federal programs or add new unfunded mandates in their effort to reduce the nation’s debt. A policy directive passed by state legislators puts forth principles aimed at ensuring that deficit reduction is accomplished in a fair and equal way that does not unfairly burden states.
Another top priority addressed by state lawmakers was a policy resolution encouraging the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act, which passed earlier this year in the U.S. Senate. The federal legislation would give states the authority to collect owed sales taxes from remote sales. State legislators also passed a policy resolution calling on Congress to pass the Digital Goods and Services Act, which creates a much-needed national framework for taxing digital purchases.
State lawmakers also voted to pass a policy resolution urging Congress to reauthorize the Food and Nutrition programs, which were left out of the House version of the Farm Bill.
On education, legislators voted on a new policy directive addressing the federal role in post-secondary education and the importance of a strong higher education system that supports individual financial success and a strong economy. Lawmakers continued their support for veterans, including a policy resolution supporting federal educational assistance for those who have served in uniform.
And on transportation, state legislators passed a new policy resolution recommending that Congress provide funding to states for the creation of pilot programs exploring transportation funding alternatives to fuel taxes.
A full list of policy directives and resolutions that were voted on is available on NCSL's website broken down committee. The policy directives and resolutions that passed will be available online next week.
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.