U.S.: State Legislation: 50-State Legislative Tracking Web Resources

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures, July 2007

At the request of NCSL’s Legislative Research Librarians (LRL) staff section, NCSL has developed this resource of 50-state compilations covering various issues that concern state legislators and legislative staff. Here you will find a topical, alphabetical listing of legislative and statutory databases, compilations and state charts/maps.

See also:
NCSL Legislative Research Librarians Staff Section
● Publications include:
Children and the Internet: Laws Relating to Filtering, Blocking and Usage Policies in Schools and Libraries
Legislative Research Librarians Newsline

Spending for Mental Health Care: A Larger Share Comes From Medicaid and Goes for Prescription Drugs

Source: Tami L. Mark, Katharine R. Levit, Jeffrey A. Buck, Rosanna M. Coffey, and Rita Vandivort-Warren, Psychiatric Services, Vol. 58 no. 8, August 2007
(subscription required)

From press release:
Over the past two decades, spending for mental health treatment shifted sharply from inpatient care to prescription medications, and Medicaid picked up a growing share of the cost, according to a study published today in Psychiatric Services.

The study, which analyzed healthcare costs from 1986 to 2003, was conducted by researchers from Thomson Healthcare and the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

See Also: Abstract of Psychiatric Services Article: Mental Health Treatment Expenditure Trends, 1986–2003

More Americans Age 55 and Older Are Working Full Time

Source: Craig Copeland, Employee Benefit Research Institute, Vol. 28 no. 8, August 2007

From press release:

As an increasing percentage of older Americans are in the labor force, the trend toward more full-time, full-year work among older workers occurs across virtually every demographic group, according to an article published today by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

These trends mark a significant change in behavior for individuals age 55 and older, the article says, and are likely driven by their need to obtain affordable employment-based health insurance (as opposed to unaffordable or unavailable coverage in the individual market) and the need to continue to accumulate savings in employment-based defined contribution retirement plans.

Independent Expenditures: A Hidden Force in State Elections

Source: National Institute on Money in State Politics, August 1, 2007

From press release:
Political expenditures made from outside official campaigns amounted to more than $115 million in just five states, a new study found, evidence of how powerful so-called independent expenditures are becoming in state politics. Compiling a comprehensive total of such expenditures for all 50 states is virtually impossible, a companion report notes, because of inadequate reporting requirements in most states.

While 39 states require some form of disclosure for individuals or groups making these expenditures in state elections, only Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine and Washington disclose the information in a way that the public can easily access and use, the National Institute on Money in State Politics discovered.

The first report, “Independent Expenditures, 2006” investigates spending on independent expenditures in the five states where data was readily obtainable, while “Indecent Disclosure” discusses problems with obtaining meaningful data on independent expenditures from the various state disclosure agencies. Taken together, the reports reveal the extensive impact of independent expenditures on the political process and the patchwork nature of disclosure laws regulating independent expenditures in the states.

How Nonprofits Helped America Vote: 2006

Source: Kathryn Clabby, OMB Watch, August 2007

From press release:
OMB Watch today released a new report on the role of nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations in elections. How Nonprofits Helped America Vote: 2006 clearly illustrates that the work of nonprofits is critical in increasing civic participation throughout the country and fostering vibrant, engaged communities. The report focuses solely on so-called 501(c)(3) organizations and does not cover the activities of special interest associations or 527 political committees.

Though 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from taking sides in elections, they are allowed educate voters, register people to vote and work to increase voter turnout. The report describes nonprofits’ electoral engagement during the 2006 election season and the groups’ preparations for upcoming elections. The publication highlights how the nonpartisan groups are defending voters’ rights against suppression and intimidation, and it includes an analysis of new voter ID requirements and attempts to limit voter registration drives. The report also describes how nonprofits are working to protect the integrity of our elections and surveys voter engagement and mobilization efforts.

OSHA Dictionaries (English-to-Spanish and Spanish-to-English)

Source: Occupational Safety & Health Administration, Hispanic Task Force

OSHA’s Hispanic Task Force developed these English-to-Spanish and Spanish-to-English dictionaries. The dictionaries include over 2,000 general OSHA, general industry, and construction industry terms. They are intended to assist OSHA, Susan Harwood Training Grant applicants and recipients, and others in their Spanish-language translations. Phonetic pronunciation guides are included in the dictionaries for frequently used general industry and frequently used construction industry terms.

A Little Sunshine: After a period of eclipse, anti-secrecy and open-government laws are making a comeback

Source: Melissa Maynard, Governing, Vol. 20 no. 10, July 2007

… The Taurus case is part of a modest but growing revival of interest around the country in open-government issues and sunshine laws. It reverses a clear trend toward secrecy that prevailed at all levels from 2001 to 2005, stimulated by the actions of the federal government and fueled by concerns about terrorism and identity theft. “We’ve been getting governors and mayors who think they’re running little White Houses,” says Charles Davis, director of the Missouri-based Freedom of Information Coalition. They had support from Washington in their efforts. In the wake of 9/11, the federal government created an exemption to the Freedom of Information Act that preempted state sunshine laws. Under the Homeland Security Act, state governments were forbidden to release “critical infrastructure information” in the name of national security. But while exemptions to state open-meetings and -records laws continue to be proposed by the hundreds, the pendulum has begun to swing back in the direction of access. State-level freedom of information coalitions are proliferating and becoming more influential, especially in states that have relatively weak anti- secrecy laws on the books.