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National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL)

Mission: The National Conference of State Legislatures is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the nation's 50 states, its commonwealths and territories. NCSL provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues.

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Campaign Priority Bills and Proposals POPVOX Sentiment Take Action
H.Con.Res. 96
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4/2/2014 - On April 1, House Budget Chairman Paul ...

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S. 743
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The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) thanks the senators ...

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H.R. 684
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Feb. 14, 2013 - The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL ...

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S. 336
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Feb. 14, 2013 - The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL ...

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Detailed Legislative Agenda

H.Con.Res. 96: The Path to Prosperity Budget for FY15

4/2/2014 - On April 1, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the fourth iteration of his "Path to Prosperity," a 99-page document outlining a budgetary framework to determine spending, revenue and other budgetary considerations for FY 2015 and beyond. The House budget resolution is similar to previous versions offered by Ryan, recommending revenue neutral tax reform, restructuring entitlement programs and proposing to balance the federal budget in 10 years.

"The Path to Prosperity" abides by the spending caps agreed to in the Bipartisan Budget Act, legislation enacted in late 2013 and devised by Ryan and Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA). The House budget resolution provides $1.014 trillion in discretionary spending in FY 2015, with $521 billion allotted for defense and $492 billion in funding for non-defense discretionary spending. After the upcoming fiscal year, the budget resolution would break from statutory discretionary caps and boost spending for defense programs at the expense of non-defense discretionary spending. Overall, "The Path to Prosperity" would reduce federal spending by more than $5 trillion, including $850 billion in deficit savings, over the next 10 years and allow for a budget surplus in FY 2024.

It’s important to note that final adoption of a joint budget resolution will not be attainable. Murray previously announced the Senate will not offer or mark-up a spending blueprint for FY 2015, and will instead use the aforementioned Bipartisan Budget Act as the framework for the upcoming fiscal year.

Tax Reform:

The resolution does not “embrace” any particular tax plan, but calls on Congress to consider House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp’s tax reform proposal.

Consolidates individual tax rates into two brackets: 10 and 25 percent.

Lowers the corporate tax rate to 25 percent.

Repeals the alternative minimum tax.

Transitions the tax code to a more competitive system of international taxation.

Health Care | Human Services:

Converts both Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) into block grants.

Eliminates broad-based categorical eligibility for recipients of SNAP.

Reforms Medicare by offering a “premium support” option for retirees eligible in 2024.

Repeals the Affordable Care Act, including the Independent Payment Advisory Board.

Eliminates the Social Services Block Grant.

Rescinds administrative waiver authority of the work requirements for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

Reforms Supplemental Security Income, through either a household cap or graduated sliding scale of benefits.

Reforms the medical-liability system.

Other Highlights:

Recommends any future general fund transfers to the Highway Trust Fund to be fully offset. The resolution calls for “innovative financing mechanisms” to support surface-transportation programs, including allowing states to opt-out of the federal gas tax and fund their transportation priorities with state revenues.

Consolidates duplicative job-training programs into more targeted career-scholarship programs. The resolution supports the SKILLS Act, which passed the House in March 2013.

Proposes Pell Grant reform, including: considering a maximum-income cap, eliminating eligibility for less-than-half-time students, and eliminating administrative fees to participating institutions.

Recommends that both the president and Congress introduce plans to restore balance to the Social Security Trust Fund.

Privatizes, and eventually eliminates, both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Suggests extension of the No Budget, No Pay Act, which would hold in escrow all compensation for members of Congress whose chamber does not agree to a concurrent budget resolution.

http://www.ncsl.org...get-resolution.aspx

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/ncsl#ncsl-hconres-96-neutral
H.R. 2642: The Farm Bill Conference Report

Supports.

(Information provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

(This bill was enacted February 7, 2014.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/ncsl#ncsl-hr-2642-support
S. 743: The Marketplace Fairness Act

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) thanks the senators who voted today in favor of the Marketplace Fairness Act. With strong bipartisan support, the bill passed 69 to 27. NCSL urges the U.S. House of Representatives to follow suit and send this important legislation to President Obama’s desk for him to sign into law.

“Today’s vote is an indication that senators listened to their state legislators, mayors, governors and other state and local officials. We have been urging Congress to pass this critical legislation for over a decade, and I’m gratified by the big step we have taken today in the U.S. Senate,” said NCSL Executive Director William T. Pound. “With the president ready to sign the bill, our next and final step will be passing the Marketplace Fairness Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. Given the strong bipartisan support for the bill, I’m optimistic we can keep this momentum going and pass the bill in the House.”

In December 2012, NCSL held a bipartisan advocacy day on Capitol Hill urging members of Congress to support the Marketplace Fairness Act. Hundreds of state legislators from around the country traveled to Washington, D.C., to bring their message to Congress. In their meetings with members of Congress, state legislators emphasized how their local business owners are suffering under the current competitive disadvantage, and how their state budgets are being adversely affected. In 2012 alone, it was estimated states lost out on a collective $23 billion as a result of not being able to collect sales tax revenue on remote sales.

Contrary to some claims, the Marketplace Fairness Act is not a new tax. The sales taxes at issue are already legally owed, but unless a remote seller has a physical presence in the state where the item is being purchased, the remote seller is not currently required to collect and remit the sales taxes. The Marketplace Fairness Act fixes this tax avoidance problem and allows states to require remote sellers with omore than $1 million in out-of-state sales annually to collect sales taxes.

http://www.ncsl.org...ketplace-fairn.aspx

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/ncsl#ncsl-s-743-support
H.R. 684: The Marketplace Fairness Act

Feb. 14, 2013 - The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) strongly supports the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 that was introduced today in the United States Senate and House of Representatives. A similar version of the bill had been introduced in the 112th Congress.

“The time to act on this bill is now. There is bipartisan support for the bill in statehouses across the country and in Congress. It is my hope that this Congress will pass this bill promptly and send it to the president to sign into law,” said Senator Pamela Althoff (R-Ill.), co-chair of the NCSL Task Force on State and Local Taxation.

“The Marketplace Fairness Act is critical to our communities because it levels the playing field for local business owners. It’s not fair to my local bookstore that I can buy the same book online as I can in the store, yet not have to pay sales taxes online. This bill rectifies this unfairness,” said Delegate Sheila Hixon (D-Md.), co-chair of the NCSL Task Force on State and Local Taxation.

In December 2012, NCSL held a bipartisan advocacy day on Capitol Hill urging members of Congress to support e-fairness legislation. Hundreds of state legislators from around the country traveled to Washington, D.C., to bring their message to Congress.

In 2012 alone, it was estimated states lost out on a collective $23 billion dollars as a result of not being able to collect sales tax revenue on remote sales. As Congress considers spending cuts that will affect states, passing the Marketplace Fairness Act is a way for Congress to offset these cuts.

“The revenue states are losing out on is legally owed, but because of a pre-Internet Supreme Court ruling, states aren’t able to collect it. The Marketplace Fairness Act fixes a tax avoidance problem,” said Senator Deb Peters (R-S.D.), vice chair of the NCSL Task Force on State and Local Taxation.

The Marketplace Fairness Act includes a provision that exempts businesses with online revenues of up to $1 million annually from having to collect remote seller sales taxes.

The Marketplace Fairness Act’s bipartisan sponsors include U.S. Senators Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), and U.S. Representatives Steve Womack (R-Ark.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.).

http://www.ncsl.org...e-fairness-act.aspx

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/ncsl#ncsl-hr-684-support
S. 336: Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013

Feb. 14, 2013 - The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) strongly supports the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 that was introduced today in the United States Senate and House of Representatives. A similar version of the bill had been introduced in the 112th Congress.

“The time to act on this bill is now. There is bipartisan support for the bill in statehouses across the country and in Congress. It is my hope that this Congress will pass this bill promptly and send it to the president to sign into law,” said Senator Pamela Althoff (R-Ill.), co-chair of the NCSL Task Force on State and Local Taxation.

“The Marketplace Fairness Act is critical to our communities because it levels the playing field for local business owners. It’s not fair to my local bookstore that I can buy the same book online as I can in the store, yet not have to pay sales taxes online. This bill rectifies this unfairness,” said Delegate Sheila Hixon (D-Md.), co-chair of the NCSL Task Force on State and Local Taxation.

In December 2012, NCSL held a bipartisan advocacy day on Capitol Hill urging members of Congress to support e-fairness legislation. Hundreds of state legislators from around the country traveled to Washington, D.C., to bring their message to Congress.

In 2012 alone, it was estimated states lost out on a collective $23 billion dollars as a result of not being able to collect sales tax revenue on remote sales. As Congress considers spending cuts that will affect states, passing the Marketplace Fairness Act is a way for Congress to offset these cuts.

“The revenue states are losing out on is legally owed, but because of a pre-Internet Supreme Court ruling, states aren’t able to collect it. The Marketplace Fairness Act fixes a tax avoidance problem,” said Senator Deb Peters (R-S.D.), vice chair of the NCSL Task Force on State and Local Taxation.

The Marketplace Fairness Act includes a provision that exempts businesses with online revenues of up to $1 million annually from having to collect remote seller sales taxes.

The Marketplace Fairness Act’s bipartisan sponsors include U.S. Senators Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), and U.S. Representatives Steve Womack (R-Ark.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.).

http://www.ncsl.org...e-fairness-act.aspx

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/ncsl#ncsl-s-336-support
S. 1196: Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act

Bills in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate have been introduced to make E-Verify a permanent and mandatory verification system for all employers, including federal, state and local government. The authorization for E-Verify expires September 30, 2012. Under current law, E-Verify is a voluntary program except for federal contractors. It applies to newly-hired employees.

In the House, H.R.2885, the Legal Workforce Act requires all employers to use E-Verify, phased in by size of employer from 6 months to two years after enactment. It exempts seasonal agricultural workers who return to work for previous agricultural employers. The bill would require federal, state and local government to verify all existing employees, not just new hires, who have not been verified through E-Verify. It would also preempt state and local laws addressing E-Verify and employer sanctions.

In the Senate, S1196, the Achieving Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act, requires federal departments, agencies, contractors, and critical employers to participate in E-Verify and all U.S. employers to participate in E-Verify within one year of enactment. Employers must re-verify existing employees within three years of enactment. States and local governments may not prohibit employers from using E-Verify to verify the employment eligibility of new hires or current employers.

Read more: http://www.ncsl.org...lt.aspx?tabid=23912

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/ncsl#ncsl-s-1196-neutral
H.R. 2885 (112th): The Legal Workforce Act (or the E-Verify Act)

Bills in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate have been introduced to make E-Verify a permanent and mandatory verification system for all employers, including federal, state and local government. The authorization for E-Verify expires September 30, 2012. Under current law, E-Verify is a voluntary program except for federal contractors. It applies to newly-hired employees.

In the House, H.R.2885, the Legal Workforce Act requires all employers to use E-Verify, phased in by size of employer from 6 months to two years after enactment. It exempts seasonal agricultural workers who return to work for previous agricultural employers. The bill would require federal, state and local government to verify all existing employees, not just new hires, who have not been verified through E-Verify. It would also preempt state and local laws addressing E-Verify and employer sanctions.

In the Senate, S1196, the Achieving Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act, requires federal departments, agencies, contractors, and critical employers to participate in E-Verify and all U.S. employers to participate in E-Verify within one year of enactment. Employers must re-verify existing employees within three years of enactment. States and local governments may not prohibit employers from using E-Verify to verify the employment eligibility of new hires or current employers.

Read more: http://www.ncsl.org...lt.aspx?tabid=23912

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/ncsl#ncsl-hr-2885-neutral
S. 1452 (112th): The Main Street Fairness Act

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) announces its support for the Main Street Fairness Act, introduced today in both houses of Congress by Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois and Congressmen John Conyers of Michigan and Peter Welch of Vermont, and encourages federal lawmakers to support this important legislation.

At a time when states continue facing severe budget gaps—collectively $72.0 billion leading into the FY 2012 budget process according to NCSL—it is essential states be allowed to collect the revenue generated by sales taxes. In 2012, states will lose an estimated $23.3 billion, collectively, in uncollected sales taxes from out-of-state sales, with more than $11.3 billion alone from electronic commerce transactions, according to a study by the University of Tennessee.

“It is simply not good public policy to be unable to collect sales taxes from this significant, existing revenue source. States urgently need these dollars to support basic services such as education and public safety,” said Senator Steve Morris, NCSL president-elect. "Congress can enhance state sovereignty and provide fiscal relief to the states without a penny coming from the federal government.”

“We’re not talking about adding a new tax on Internet commerce; we’re correcting a tax avoidance problem," said Senator Richard Moore, NCSL president. "Allowing some remote sellers to avoid this tax is unfair to the main street merchants that make up the lifeblood of our local communities.”

Beginning in 1999, NCSL, along with the National Governors Association (NGA), led the way for states to simplify and modernize the states’ sales and use tax collection systems with the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement. Twenty-four states already are part of the agreement, but federal legislation is needed for all out-of-state sales taxes to be collected.

If passed, the Main Street Fairness Act will remove the burdens to interstate commerce that were of concern to the Supreme Court in the 1967 Bellas Hess case, and the 1992 Quill v. North Dakota case. Through these cases, the Supreme Court acknowledged consumers owe the sales tax when they purchase goods through catalogs or over the Internet, but ruled that states cannot force retailers to collect the tax. This legislation will overturn these decisions and authorize states to collect sales taxes on out-of-state sales.

The legislation is a win for local businesses throughout the country by leveling the playing field between local businesses who have to collect sales taxes, and out-of-state merchants who currently do not. The legislation also removes the liability for businesses collecting sales taxes, ensuring that sellers are held harmless for calculations and collections using the certified technology provided by the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement.

http://www.ncsl.org...lt.aspx?tabid=23309

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/ncsl#ncsl-s-1452-support
H.R. 2701 (112th): The Main Street Fairness Act

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) announces its support for the Main Street Fairness Act, introduced today in both houses of Congress by Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois and Congressmen John Conyers of Michigan and Peter Welch of Vermont, and encourages federal lawmakers to support this important legislation.

At a time when states continue facing severe budget gaps—collectively $72.0 billion leading into the FY 2012 budget process according to NCSL—it is essential states be allowed to collect the revenue generated by sales taxes. In 2012, states will lose an estimated $23.3 billion, collectively, in uncollected sales taxes from out-of-state sales, with more than $11.3 billion alone from electronic commerce transactions, according to a study by the University of Tennessee.

“It is simply not good public policy to be unable to collect sales taxes from this significant, existing revenue source. States urgently need these dollars to support basic services such as education and public safety,” said Senator Steve Morris, NCSL president-elect. "Congress can enhance state sovereignty and provide fiscal relief to the states without a penny coming from the federal government.”

“We’re not talking about adding a new tax on Internet commerce; we’re correcting a tax avoidance problem," said Senator Richard Moore, NCSL president. "Allowing some remote sellers to avoid this tax is unfair to the main street merchants that make up the lifeblood of our local communities.”

Beginning in 1999, NCSL, along with the National Governors Association (NGA), led the way for states to simplify and modernize the states’ sales and use tax collection systems with the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement. Twenty-four states already are part of the agreement, but federal legislation is needed for all out-of-state sales taxes to be collected.

If passed, the Main Street Fairness Act will remove the burdens to interstate commerce that were of concern to the Supreme Court in the 1967 Bellas Hess case, and the 1992 Quill v. North Dakota case. Through these cases, the Supreme Court acknowledged consumers owe the sales tax when they purchase goods through catalogs or over the Internet, but ruled that states cannot force retailers to collect the tax. This legislation will overturn these decisions and authorize states to collect sales taxes on out-of-state sales.

The legislation is a win for local businesses throughout the country by leveling the playing field between local businesses who have to collect sales taxes, and out-of-state merchants who currently do not. The legislation also removes the liability for businesses collecting sales taxes, ensuring that sellers are held harmless for calculations and collections using the certified technology provided by the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement.

http://www.ncsl.org...lt.aspx?tabid=23309

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/ncsl#ncsl-hr-2701-support
H.Con.Res. 34 (112th): The Federal Budget for FY 2012

SUMMARY OF HOUSE FY 2012 BUDGET RESOLUTION at http://www.ncsl.org...lt.aspx?TabId=22501

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/ncsl#ncsl-hconres-34-neutral