Bird’s Eye View

Airbnb Pays Hotel Taxes in Several U.S. Cities and Three States | 11-06-2015

Airbnb collects and remits transient occupancy taxes, also known as hotel taxes, on behalf of its hosts in a dozen U.S. cities and the District of Columbia, according to the company’s website. Occupancy and sales taxes are also collected and remitted...

Marijuana Use Could Be Legal In Over Half Of States Next Year | 10-30-2015

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes either through legislative action or ballot measure. Voters in four of those states -- Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington -- have also approved...

Drought Stokes Wildfires in Western States | 10-16-2015

Fueled by a drought in the western states that’s now in its fourth year, wildfires have burned nine million acres nationwide this year, well over the five million-acre average for the past decade, according to National Geographic and the National...

Death with Dignity Gaining Ground in States | 10-09-2015

By the end of this year, 25 states will have considered legislation to allow terminally ill patients to end their own lives, according to the Death With Dignity National Center. Although Death with Dignity measures failed in 12 of those states, they were...

Uber Hits Roadblocks In Several U.S. Cities and a State | 10-02-2015

As of April, 2015 ridesharing service Uber had been banned from operating or had suspended operation in several U.S. cities and one state, according to Business Insider. Uber paused service in both Eugene and Portland, Oregon last year after being fined...

Pre-election voting restricted in many states | 09-18-2015

In most states eligible voters can cast their votes before Election Day, either by going to the polls during designated early voting periods or by voting via absentee ballot. But 30 states have no early voting period, although 13 of those states allow...

Majority of Drone Encounters Happening in Five States | 09-10-2015

A little over half (51.6 percent) of the 952 encounters between drones and manned aircraft reported to the FAA since the beginning of 2014 originated from five states, according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. More than 20 percent, or 196...

States Trying to Shrink Gender Gap in Worker Pay | 09-04-2015

Five states have enacted laws this session aimed at narrowing the wage gender gap, according to the American Association of University Women. Equal pay measures are also awaiting gubernatorial action in two states and are still pending in one other. And...

States Bringing Public-Style Pension Plans to Private Sector | 08-21-2015

At least 25 states have either passed or considered legislation aimed at bringing the efficiencies of public retirement systems to new pension plans for workers in the private sector, according to the Pension Rights Center. Illinois, Oregon and Washington...

Most States Active on Security Breach Notification | 08-14-2015

As of June, at least 32 states had introduced or were considering security breach notification bills this session, many of which were aimed at toughening existing security breach laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Fourteen...

Wide Range of Pension Liabilities Among States | 08-07-2015

As of 2013, Illinois had the most underfunded public pension system in the nation on a percentage basis, according to data from the Pew Charitable Trusts. The state only had enough assets in its pension accounts to cover 39.3 percent of its pension liability...

Majority of States Have Minimum Wages Higher Than Federal Rate | 07-31-2015

Twenty-nine states have laws setting minimum wage rates above the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour. Washington’s rate, at $9.47, is the highest. Fourteen states have minimum wages that are the same as the federal rate. Only Georgia and Wyoming...

Minority of States Prepared for Climate Change | 07-17-2015

Only 14 states have formal statewide plans in place for dealing with climate change, according to the Georgetown Climate Center. Of those states, California is the furthest along in implementing its plan, having completed 48 of that plan’s 345 stated...

Ridesharing Regulations Catching On | 07-10-2015

As of March, 20 cities, four states and the District of Columbia had passed ordinances, regulations or laws allowing ride-sharing services, also known as transportation network companies (TNCs), to operate, according to the National Association of Insurance...

Marijuana Use Legal In Nearly Half Of States | 07-02-2015

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws authorizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes since 1996, when California became the first to do so with Proposition 215. Four states and the District of Columbia have gone further...

Nearly Half of States Made Criminal Sentencing Changes in 2014 | 06-19-2015

Twenty-three states enacted 51 bills last year dealing with sentencing and criminal penalties, according to the State Sentencing and Corrections Legislation database provided by the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Pew Charitable Trusts’...

More States Saying No To Powdered Alcohol | 06-12-2015

As of this month, 18 states have now passed legislation banning the sale of powdered alcohol, or Palcohol. Liquor control authorities have imposed Palcohol bans in two other states: Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. And although Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey...

States Going Digital With Drivers' Licenses | 06-05-2015

At least six states have introduced bills or resolutions dealing with digital driver’s licenses this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures and LexisNexis State Net’s legislative database. Three of those resolutions...

States Restricting Local Control | 05-29-2015

At least five states have passed laws this year nullifying or preempting local ordinances, including those regulating ride-sharing, fracking and concealed-weapons permits, according to analysis by LexisNexis State Net. Local-control legislation is also...

Drought Impacting All But Handful Of States | 05-15-2015

As of May 12 drought was impacting every state in the nation but six, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, a weekly measure of drought conditions produced by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s National Drought Mitigation Center and the U.S....

Fastest Growing Short-Term Rental Markets Not In Major Cities | 05-08-2015

The U.S. travel destinations with the fastest growing short-term rental markets are not big cities, according to a 2014 report from HomeAway, Inc. which offers rentals worldwide through numerous websites, including VRBO.com. Based on a comparison of traveler...

States Just Saying No To Powdered Alcohol | 05-01-2015

Earlier this year, the federal government gave its approval to a powdered form of alcohol dubbed Palcohol by its Arizona-based creator. But, citing a long list of potential problems associated with the product, seven states have already passed legislation...

Uninsured rates dropped most in Medicaid expansion states | 04-17-2015

The national uninsured rate dropped 3.5 percent (from 17.3 percent to 13.8 percent) last year, when the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance mandate took effect, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. The five states with the biggest...

Many States Restrict Municipal Broadband Development | 04-10-2015

The Federal Communications Commission issued a ruling in February preempting laws in North Carolina and Texas that restricted municipalities from developing their own broadband networks. As of January 2014, 20 states had such restrictions in place, according...

Nearly Half of States Considering 'Biologics' Bills | 04-03-2015

Twenty-two states have filed or introduced bills or resolutions this session related to “biologics” or “biosimilars,” medical drugs generally derived from living cells. Three of the bills have been signed into law -- Utah’s...

More States Trying 'Right to Try' | 03-20-2015

In 2014 eight state legislatures considered -- and four enacted -- measures allowing patients to legally obtain experimental drugs that haven’t yet received FDA approval, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Voters in a fifth...

Right-To-Work Active Issue In States | 03-13-2015

Sixteen states have introduced bills this year dealing with prohibitions against labor contracts requiring workers to pay union dues or other fees as a condition of employment, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ labor union...

Wyoming Has Most Government Employees Per Capita | 03-06-2015

Wyoming has more government employees per capita than any other state, according to 2013 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As The Wall Street Journal reported last year, more than 11.39 percent of the state’s total population -- or 114 people...

Most States Grant Religious or Personal-Belief Exemptions for Vaccinations | 02-27-2015

Every state requires children to be vaccinated against certain diseases. But all 50 states grant exemptions from those vaccination mandates for medical reasons. All but two grant exemptions for religious reasons. And 20 grant exemptions for moral or other...

California Most Active State on Immigration Last Year | 02-13-2015

L awmakers in 43 states enacted 171 laws and 117 resolutions related to immigration last year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California was the most active state on the issue, enacting 28 resolutions and 26 laws, including...

Motor Vehicle "Black Box" Privacy Laws On Rise | 02-06-2015

As of last November, 15 states had enacted motor vehicle event data recorder (EDR), or “black box,” privacy laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. All of the laws prohibit the downloading of information from a motor...

Slew of States to Consider Aid-in-Dying Bills | 01-30-2015

More than a dozen states have introduced death-with-dignity legislation or pledged to do so this year, according to the nonprofit advocacy organization Compassion & Choices. A previously-introduced bill in New Jersey has already cleared the first...

GOP Holds Distinct Edge in State Government Control | 01-16-2015

Prim arily as a result of the November elections, Republicans now control both the governor's office and legislature in 23 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The GOP also holds the governor's office in Nebraska...

North Dakota created most jobs in 2014 | 01-09-2015

Thanks to an oil and gas boom, North Dakota's job market grew more than any other state's last year, 4.8 percent, according to analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data by Stateline. Texas ranked second at 3.7 percent, followed by Utah at 3...

Hawaii healthiest state in America | 12-22-2014

Hawaii is the nation's healthiest state, according to the United Health Foundation's annual health rankings for 2014. The Aloha State's low rates of obesity, preventable hospital visits and cancer deaths helped earn it the top spot. Mississippi...

Majority of states have voter ID laws | 05-16-2014

Thirty-four states have enacted laws requiring prospective voters to present some form of identification at the polls. Thirty-one of those voter ID laws are currently in effect. Pennsylvania's and Wisconsin's laws have been struck down, and North...

Bird’s Eye View | 01-13-2014

States becoming more 'hostile' to abortion: Twenty-two states enacted provisions restricting access to abortion in 2013, making the year second only to 2011 in the number of such enactments, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive...

Health exchange enrollments lag in first month | 12-02-2013

Only three states — Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York — reached their enrollment targets in the first month of open enrollment in the health insurance exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act. All three states, which run their...

States offer a tightly stretched lifeline for Obamacare | 12-02-2013

Obamacare is clinging to existence. After the bungled rollout of the federal health care website and President Obama's contrite admission that he misled millions of Americans into believing they could keep their insurance policies, opponents of Obamacare...