State Net Capitol Journal: With D.C. Stalled, More States Ponder Regulating E-Cigarettes

By Rich Ehisen The use of electronic cigarettes — battery powered devices that look like a traditional cigarette or cigar but which allow smokers to inhale flavored nicotine in a vapor form that uses no tobacco and produces no secondhand smoke — is booming. But with no definitive scientific...

State Net Capitol Journal: Voting Rights Bill Introduced In Congress

A bill introduced in Congress last month would require four southern states to once again obtain federal preapproval before making any changes to their voting laws by replacing parts of the Voting Rights Act struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court last year. The bill modernizes the formula in the forty...

State Net Capitol Journal: Congress Passes Food Industry Overhaul

Just when it looked as if no legislation of any consequence would ever make it through the partisan gridlock in Washington, the 113th Congress approved three significant, bipartisan measures in three months, the latest a five-year farm bill passed last week that will impact everything from farm subsidies...

State Net Capitol Journal: States Embracing Efforts to Combat Rise in Heroin Deaths

By Rich Ehisen For years, America's "war on drugs" has inspired police and lawmakers to take a very tough minded, arrest-and-incarcerate approach to dealing with illicit drug use. But an alarming increase in heroin overdose deaths nationwide has a growing number of states turning away...

State Net Capitol Journal: More States Looking to Offer ‘Safe Harbor’ to Underage Trafficking Victims

By Rich Ehisen Dealing with human trafficking has always been tricky business for lawmakers. States have in recent years been bringing down a variety of hammers, most aimed at the traffickers or the johns who solicit their often-underage victims. But how to best deal with the young girls and boys...

State Net Capitol Journal Spotlight: Issues Old And New Catch Fire In States

By Korey Clark Last week, we took a mid-year look at several of the issues we predicted last December would see a lot of action in statehouses this year. Here are a few more of those issues, as well as a couple of others that have heated up as the year has progressed. DIGITAL REVOLUTION/SHARING ECONOMY...

State Net Capitol Journal: Gun Groups Fire Back at Gun Control Efforts in Ct. and Md.

After the December 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the state enacted sweeping gun control legislation (SB 1160) expanding its assault weapon ban. Gun rights advocates spent the next year holding protests and challenging the law in the courts. "You have a community...

State Net Capitol Journal: Minimum Wage, Marijuana, Gambling And Guns Dominate Ballot Measures

By Korey Clark A total of 136 measures have qualified for states' November ballots, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures' Ballot Measures Database. That number is 23 percent lower than it was in 2012, when there were 176 measures on state ballots; 42 percent lower than...

State Net Capitol Journal: Local Measures Vie With State, Federal Issues As Voters Finally Get Their Say

By Rich Ehisen Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Tip O'Neill (D-Massachusetts) is often credited with coining the phrase "all politics is local," a nod to the critical nature of retail politics even for those inhabiting Congress in Washington D.C. O'Neill's...