CSG Committee on Suggested State Legislation

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Illinois SB 7 (Public Act 097-0008) establishes new standards for teacher tenure, empowers school districts to remove poor performing teachers from the classroom, and updates regulations about teacher strikes. For example, the law states tenure can only be obtained after four years of service and a series of proficiency reviews. However, it allows for the top rated educators to be put into a fast-track for tenure after three years without having to wait for the fourth year. The Act directs the state board of education to administer a survey of learning conditions to schools statewide and to publically report about selected indicators of learning conditions resulting from the survey. 

 

This Act directs insurers that use credit information to underwrite or rate risks for personal insurance policies to provide reasonable exceptions to those rates for consumers who experience certain events that negatively impact their credit information. These include becoming seriously ill or losing a job. 

This Act prohibits minors from using an electronic communication device, such as a cell phone, to possess, transmit or distribute a sexual image of themselves or of another minor. It includes in the definition of “cyberbullying” the use of electronic communication to transmit or distribute a sexual image of a minor. 

This Act authorizes a general academic teaching institution to develop a fixed tuition rate program for qualified students who agree to transfer to the institution within 12 months after successfully earning an associate degree from a lower-division institution of higher education. The legislation establishes parameters for the tuition to be charged to a participating student in such a program during a period of at least 24 months after the student's initial enrollment in the general academic institution and requires an institution that develops such a program to prescribe eligibility requirements for participation and to notify applicants for transfer admission from lower-division institutions of higher education regarding the program. 

This Act requires the state personnel director to create and make available to all state employees a process and an application to allow state workers to suggest ideas to improve state agency operations. The application must be posted on the department of personnel’s website and the process must be advertised on state employee payroll statements. The Act directs the state personnel director to develop a method to evaluate employee suggestions. 

This Act directs the state insurance commissioner to enter into a consortium with at least five other states for the reciprocal interstate sale of health insurance policies. It requires one of the consortium states be designated as the primary state for purposes of regulation under that state’s laws and regulations. It provides that a consortium state insurer is exempt from a secondary state's laws and regulations, except for premium taxes and assessments, registration requirements, unfair claims practices and judicial process. The bill also identifies matters to be considered by the commissioner in establishing rules of reciprocity, the types of policies eligible to be sold and the effect of interstate sales on regulation of domestic insurers.

In July 2010 President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. As part of the agreement, Congress incorporated the Nonadmitted Insurance and Reinsurance Reform Act (NRRA) as Title V, Subtitle B, Part I. In NRRA Congress insisted that states adopt uniform requirements, forms, and procedures to facilitate the reporting, payment, collection, and allocation of premium taxes for the surplus lines insurance industry. bCurrently, there are two competing models states can consider to do this. One is the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIC) Non-Admitted Insurance Multi-state Agreement (NIMA). The other is the Surplus Lines Insurance Multi-State Compliance Compact (SLIMPACT), which was developed by The Council of State Governments (CSG) National Center for Interstate Compacts (NCIC), the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL), and a variety of industry stakeholders.

This Act generally requires a court, when admonishing a jury against conversation, research,  or dissemination of information pursuant to the trial, to clearly explain, as part of the admonishment, that the prohibition applies to all forms of electronic and wireless communication. It requires the officer in charge of a jury to prevent any form of electronic or wireless communication. The Act makes violating such admonishment punishable as civil or criminal contempt of court.

The Research Division of the North Carolina General Assembly reports North Carolina Session Law 2011-192, as amended by S.L. 2011-412 (HB 335), revises state criminal laws, criminal procedure laws, and probation statutes. The Act is based upon recommendations of The Council of State Governments Justice Center, working in conjunction with state agencies and officials. Known as the Justice Reinvestment Project, the working group received input from criminal justice practitioners and stakeholders from around the state, including superior and district court judges, district attorneys, defense attorneys, behavioral health treatment providers, family members, consumers, law enforcement officials, victim advocates, and probation officers. The goal of their work was to develop a statewide policy framework to reduce spending on corrections and reinvest in strategies to increase public safety. 

Increasingly, state governments are publishing laws, statutes, agency rules, and court rules  and decisions online. In some states, important state-level legal material is no longer published in books, but is only available online. While electronic publication of legal material has facilitated public access to the material, it has also raised concerns. Is the legal material official, authentic, government data that has not been altered? For the long term, how will this electronic legal material be preserved? How will the public access the material 10, 50, or 100 years from now? The Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA) provides states with an outcomes-based approach to the authentication and preservation of electronic legal material. The goals of the authentication and preservation program outlined in the Act are to enable end-users to verify the trustworthiness of the legal material they are using and to provide a framework for states to preserve legal material in perpetuity in a manner that allows for permanent access.

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