Bird’s eye view

Numerous State Legislative Chambers ‘In Play’ This Year | 09-16-2016

Eighteen legislative chambers in 13 states are vulnerable to a shift of party control in the November elections, according to Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Twelve of those chambers are currently held by Republicans, while...

New Voting Restrictions In Place For November Election | 09-09-2016

New voting restrictions, including strict voter ID requirements and scaled back early voting periods, are set to be in effect for the first time in a presidential election this year in 15 states. In another five states restrictions will be in effect for...

Multi-State Climate Initiatives Cover Much Of Country | 09-02-2016

Many states have joined multi-state efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and encourage investment in clean energy and energy efficiency, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES). Nine states participate in the Regional Greenhouse...

Public Pension Return Rates Lagging In States | 08-19-2016

Investment returns for large public pension plans in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2015 were significantly lower than the plans’ assumed rates of return, according to money management news source Pensions & Investments . The one-year return...

Most States Allow Transportation Network Companies | 08-12-2016

Thirty-seven states have passed laws regulating transportation network companies (TNCs), according to the R Street Institute and LexisNexis State Net’s legislative tracking database. The most recent addition to that group is Delaware, where Gov...

States Starting To Bet On Daily Fantasy Sports | 08-05-2016

Seven states - Colorado, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Tennessee, and Virginia - have passed laws this year aimed specifically at legalizing daily fantasy sports (DFS) games on sites like DraftKings and FanDuel. In addition, Kansas enacted...

Some States More Prepared Than Others For Public Health Threat | 07-29-2016

States are not equally prepared for a public health threat like the Zika virus, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s 2016 National Health Security Preparedness Index. That Index, which is based on over 100 different measures, including...

Texas et al Win Challenge To Obama Immigration Policy | 07-15-2016

Twenty-five states joined Texas in challenging President Obama’s executive actions on immigration policy in November 2014, expanding temporary relief from deportation for undocumented immigrants. Fifteen states also filed amicus, or “friend...

Little Correlation Between Gun Laws and Worst Mass Shootings | 07-08-2016

Three of the eight states where the deadliest mass shootings since 1984 have occurred - California, Connecticut and New York - are among those with the strictest gun laws, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. None of those shootings took...

Texas Abortion Ruling Reverberates In Other States | 07-01-2016

Last week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down a 2013 Texas law requiring doctors and clinics that perform abortions to meet hospital-like standards resulted in the almost immediate effective invalidation of similar laws facing legal challenge...

States Vary In One Measure of Recession Readiness | 06-17-2016

New Hampshire was the most “service-level solvent” state in fiscal year 2014, meaning it had the most “fiscal slack” to raise taxes or increase spending in an economic downturn, according to a study by the Mercatus Center at George...

Obamacare premium increases to vary widely across states in 2017 | 06-10-2016

Premium increases for the most popular category of health insurance plans under Obamacare will vary widely in 2017, based on analysis of proposed rate filings for eight states where complete data is available by Avalere Health. The average proposed rate...

States Consider Host of Pro- and Anti-LGBT Bills | 06-03-2016

Thirty-eight states have considered legislation this year aimed at either protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals from discrimination or denying such protection, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. The majority of the...

Majority of States Have Minimum Wage Higher Than Federal Standard | 05-20-2016

As of last month, 29 states had a minimum wage that was higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Two of those states, California and New York, have also passed laws that will gradually...

Majority of States Looking at Daily Fantasy Sports | 05-13-2016

Thirty-three states have considered legislation related to daily fantasy sports this year, according to LegalSportsReport.com and LexisNexis State Net legislative data. DFS bills have been passed in four states, including Virginia, which enacted two....

Drone Laws Passed In Over Half of States In Last Few Years | 05-05-2016

Since 2013, 27 states have enacted laws addressing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The laws generally define what UAS or drones are and specify how they can be used by law enforcement...

States Consider Raising Legal Age For Tobacco | 04-29-2016

At least 11 states have considered measures this session mimicking Hawaii’s newly implemented law that raises the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products to 21, according to LexisNexis State Net ’s legislative database. California’s...

Partisan Shifts Possible In Several Statehouses | 04-15-2016

This year’s statehouse elections offer opportunities for both Democrats and Republicans to shift majority control of legislative chambers, according to Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Democrats are eyeing Republican...

Flurry of Remote Sales Tax Bills in States This Year | 04-08-2016

At least a dozen states have introduced legislation in 2016 related to out-of-state, or remote, sales taxes, according to LexisNexis State Net’s legislative tracking database. Most of the bills have been aimed at expanding the definition of a state...

Student Debt Varies by State | 04-01-2016

Sixty-nine percent of graduating college seniors nationwide in 2014 had some amount of student loan debt, averaging about $28,950, according to the Institute for College Access & Success. But some states had more 4-year college graduates in more debt...

More States Oppose Obama Immigration Policy Than Support | 03-18-2016

Texas and twenty-five other states have filed suit to block President Obama’s executive actions in November shielding undocumented immigrants from deportation for three years, according to the Pew Research Center. Twelve states have filed an amicus...

Few States Focusing On Self-Driving Vehicles | 03-11-2016

Since 2011, when Nevada became the first state to authorize the operation of self-driving cars, five other states -- California, Florida, Michigan, North Dakota and Tennessee -- have enacted legislation, and Arizona’s governor has issued an executive...

Majority of States Have Good Samaritan Laws | 03-04-2016

States have enacted numerous laws to combat the epidemic of opioid-related deaths plaguing much of the United States. Most common are so-called “Good Samaritan” laws that generally give a person civil or criminal immunity for seeking help...

Govs Tout Clean Energy, Avoid Climate Change | 02-19-2016

A bipartisan group of 17 governors signed off last week on a pledge to work together toward increasing the use of renewable power, integrating electricity grids across state lines and ramping up the number of alternative fuel cars on their roadways (For...

States Still Divesting from Iran | 02-12-2016

Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have laws on the books prohibiting at least some state pension or retirement funds from investing in companies that do a certain amount of business in Iran. Ten of those states also have laws on the books...

States take action on Mental Health First Aid | 02-04-2016

During the 2013-14 legislative year, 14 states enacted bills related to Mental Health First Aid - CPR-like training to help emergency personnel, teachers and others recognize and respond to mental health disorders - according to the National Council for...

Some Correlation Between Gun Laws and Gun Deaths | 01-29-2016

Three of the seven states with the most gun deaths per 100,000 residents -- Alaska, Mississippi and Wyoming -- are also among the seven states with the most lenient gun laws, according to analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...

Half of States In Compliance With Real ID | 01-15-2016

Twenty-two states are in full compliance with the driver’s license security standards set by the federal Real ID Act of 2005, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Prior to Jan. 8 of this year, 23 states were granted extensions, allowing...

New State Laws Diverge on Guns and Voting Rights | 01-08-2016

Among the state laws taking effect this year are new gun restrictions in California tightening that state’s existing ban on firearms on school grounds and allowing individuals to request the temporary seizure of weapons from relatives who may pose...

Most States Increasing Spending in 2016 | 12-18-2015

States enacted budgets for fiscal 2016 that will increase general fund spending by an average of 4.1 percent, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers. The biggest spending bump, New York’s 14.7 percent increase, is largely...

Only A Handful of States Considering "Assault Weapon" Bills | 12-11-2015

Eight states introduced legislation this year aimed at imposing or tightening restrictions on “assault weapons” specifically, according to LexisNexis State Net’s legislative database. Four of those states also introduced legislation...

Suicides Up Significantly In Many States | 12-04-2015

Between 2007 and 2012, the number of annual suicide deaths rose by more than 30 percent in eight states, according to analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by Governing . The largest increase, 69.3 percent, was in Wyoming...

Medicaid Expansion Big Factor in State Insured Rates | 11-20-2015

Massachusetts had the lowest percentage of residents without health insurance last year, 3.3 percent, according to a recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau. Texas had the highest percentage of such residents, at 19.1 percent. All five of the states...

Flurry of Statehouse Action On Daily Fantasy Sports | 11-13-2015

Legislation related to daily fantasy sports (DFS) has been drafted or introduced this year in 16 states, according to LegalSportsReport.com, which covers the legal online sports wagering industry. The bills generally seek to legalize DFS in states that...

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’...