I was a supervisor for Microbe Mission. There was no where in the state rules or clarifications that said you could bring a binder or a reference sheet (unless I missed something).
In fact the state website says:
Question: Are binders allowed for the trial events?
Answer: No, the only trial that allows reference materials of any kind is Protein Modeling. We will adhere to the official rules for Protein Modeling and only allow ten double-sided, 8.5”x11” pages of materials.
The teams that brought either were not allowed to use them. I believe teams following the national rules were the ones who were confused.
And of binders being allowed, I think it's a far more fulfilling experience than filling out a piece of paper. And the skills gained are worthwhile even to individuals who won't pursue science after high school. However, I think the rules for "Entomology" and maybe Fossils now were the best. A 1" binder that fit in a 1.5" thick box was allowed, and I can tell you that it definitely made you think more about organization and what to use the space for. As in these events, the most time-consuming portion is doing tons of research online and in libraries; I see no reason why you shouldn't be allowed to bring that information with you. However, in events that are mainly answer questions applying a few concepts (Chem Lab, Enviro Chem, Ecology, Circuit Lab, Cell Bio, Disease...), I see no reason that even one sheet of paper should be allowed (or how it would even help if the test is written right). I am fine with events like Astronomy getting all the resources they want since they involve both a great number of research as well as tons of application and calculation. But that's just my opinion.
Events: Ecology, Herpetology, Cell Bio, Entomology, Sounds of Music, Circuit Lab, Chem Lab, Disease Detective, Dynamic Planet, Five Star, EggONaut, Enviro Chemistry, Fermi, Quantum Quandaries!
Nationals: Wichita: Ecology-4, Entomology-5, Team-11; DC: Sounds-1, Team-11