NCSL BYLAWS

The NCSL bylaws and rules can only be changed (revised) by a 3/5 vote at the Annual Business Meeting (held during Annual Meetings).

The NCSL Executive Committee's Budget, Finance and Rules Committee is the place where revisions are first proposed. If they authorize a revision, then it goes to the Full Executive Committee. If approved by a majority - then it is placed on the Action Calendar at the Annual Meeting Business Meeting where the revision is either approved or rejected.

*NCSL Bylaws as amended in Los Angeles, August 2018.

ARTICLE I
Name

Section 1. Name. The name of this organization shall be the National Conference of State Legislatures ("the Conference").

Section 2. Offices. Offices of the Conference shall be in such localities as shall be determined by the Executive Committee.

ARTICLE II
Purpose

Section 1. Purposes. The purposes and objectives of the Conference shall be:
(1) To advance the effectiveness, independence, and integrity of legislatures in the states, territories, and commonwealths of the United States.

(2) To foster interstate cooperation and to facilitate information exchange among state legislatures.

(3) To represent the states and their legislatures in the American federal system of government consistent with support of state sovereignty and state flexibility and protection from unfunded federal mandates and unwarranted federal preemption. 

(4) To improve the operations and management of state legislatures; to improve the effectiveness of legislators and legislative staff; and to encourage the practice of high standards of conduct by legislators and legislative staff.

(5) To promote cooperation between state legislatures in the United States and legislatures in other countries.

ARTICLE III
Membership and Divisions

Section 1. Membership. The membership of the Conference shall consist of the legislatures of the states, the District of Columbia, and the territories and commonwealths of the United States. Payment of properly established membership dues shall be a condition of participation by legislators and legislative staff within each of the member jurisdictions.

Section 2. Divisions. The Conference shall have at least two participant divisions: a Legislator Division and a Staff Division. Other divisions may be established by the Executive Committee. Sections and committees may be established by the Executive Committee or by the divisions with the approval of the Executive Committee. The Legislator Division shall have a section for legislative leaders.

ARTICLE IV
Other Organizations

Section 1. Cooperation with other organizations. The Conference may cooperate with or establish relationships with such other groups, public or private, as may seem most likely to advance the purposes of the Conference, directing special effort toward cooperative work with those bodies that represent local and state governments. In order to more effectively promote state interests, the Conference shall seek a working association with the Council of State Governments and its regional conferences, while reserving and maintaining complete autonomy and independence of budget, staff and operations.

Section 2. International affiliates. The state or provincial legislatures of other countries may affiliate with the Conference. International affiliates shall not be entitled to vote, but may have members serve on NCSL standing committees and the Executive Committee subject to conditions established by the Executive Committee.

ARTICLE V
Meetings and Rules

Section 1. Annual meetings. The Conference shall meet annually at such time and place as may be determined by the Executive Committee.

Section 2. Special meetings. Special meetings of the Conference may be called by the Executive Committee at any time; or shall be called by the President upon request of at least 26 member jurisdictions. The meeting shall be held within forty-five days after filing of the request with the Executive Director. The notice of the meeting shall state its purpose. No other business shall be considered.

Section 3. Notice of meetings. The Executive Director shall provide timely written notice of Annual and special meetings of the Conference not less than thirty days prior to the opening of the meeting.

Section 4. Voting at annual meeting. Roll call voting at the Annual Meeting shall be by member jurisdiction, and each member jurisdiction in good standing shall be entitled to cast one vote regardless of the number of delegates present from that jurisdiction. A quorum for the transaction of business shall consist of representation from at least twenty member jurisdictions. On any vote that places the Conference on record in a matter of public policy, an affirmative vote of three-fourths of the jurisdictions who respond to the most recent quorum call shall be required to adopt the motion. A state not present for the most recent quorum call can, before the start of the next roll call vote, request recognition from the presiding legislator Chair and be recorded as present for purposes of the quorum. New quorum calls shall be conducted at the request of five (5) member jurisdictions. The determination of the vote within each jurisdiction shall be by the members present from that jurisdiction. On any vote that places the Conference on record in a matter of public policy, legislative staff shall not be entitled to vote.

Section 5. Rules. Rules governing the conduct of meetings shall be recommended by the Executive Committee and adopted by the Conference. Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure shall govern the proceedings of the Conference in all cases not covered by these Bylaws or the Conference Rules of Procedure.

Section 6. Proxy voting. There shall be no proxy voting during any proceedings of the Conference.

ARTICLE VI
Officers and Executive Committee

Section 1. Officers. The officers of the Conference shall be a President, a President-Elect, a Vice President, and the Immediate Past President; and a Staff Chair, a Staff Vice Chair, and the Immediate Past Staff Chair.

Section 2.  Executive Committee Composition and Voting Privileges.  The Executive Committee shall be composed of forty-one legislators, twenty-one legislative staff and one nonvoting ex officio legislator member representing international affiliates.  The legislator member representing international affiliates is nominated by the Nominating Committee.
(1) The legislator members shall be:
a.  The President;
b.  The Immediate Past President;
c.  The President-Elect;
d.  The Vice President;
e.  Twenty-seven at-large members;
f.  One ex officio member representing the state hosting the annual meeting at the time of that member’s election;
g.  Two ex officio members representing the states hosting the next two annual meetings;
h.  The Co-Chairs of the NCSL Standing Committees, who serve ex officio, appointed by the President and President-Elect; and
i.   Five ex officio members representing the Council of State Governments, including the Chair of the Council and one member or alternative member elected from each of the 
     four regional conferences of the Council, as provided by Subsection (4) of Section 2.
(2)  The legislative staff members shall be:
a.  The Staff Chair;
b.  The Staff Vice Chair;
c.  The Immediate Past Staff Chair;
d.  Sixteen at-large members; and
e.  The Staff Co-Chairs of the NCSL Standing Committees, who serve ex officio, appointed by the Staff Chair.
(3)  Ex officio members are voting members of the Executive Committee, unless otherwise provided.
(4)  Following the NCSL Annual Meeting, the CSG Regional Conference Members and Alternates shall be elected from states not having at-large legislator representation on the Executive Committee. 

ARTICLE VII
Nomination and Election Procedures

Section 1. Legislator Nominating Committee. The President shall appoint a Legislator Nominating Committee of twelve members at least sixty days prior to the next Annual Meeting. The Nominating Committee shall consist of an equal number of Republicans and Democrats. It shall include at least one Democrat and one Republican from each region and no more than four members from the same region. The President shall select members with the advice and consent of the legislator members of the Executive Committee. The President shall appoint the chair of the Legislator Nominating Committee, who shall be a legislative leader.

Section 2. Legislative Staff Nominating Committee. The Staff Chair shall select a Legislative Staff Nominating Committee consisting of seven legislative staff at least sixty days prior to the next Annual Meeting. The Staff Chair shall select members with the advice and consent of staff members of the Executive Committee. The Staff Chair shall appoint the chair of the Legislative Staff Nominating Committee.

Section 3. Nominating procedures for legislator officers. The Legislator Nominating Committee shall present to the Annual Meeting a slate of candidates for the offices of President-Elect and Vice President. The President succeeds automatically from the office of President-Elect; the Immediate Past President succeeds automatically from the office of President. No officer who has served one full term shall be eligible for reelection to the same office until at least one intervening term has elapsed. The President-Elect and Vice President shall be legislative leaders from a member jurisdiction at the time of their election. The offices of President, President-Elect and Vice President shall alternate between the two major political parties. For the office of Vice President and President-Elect, the Legislator Nominating Committee may submit more than one name.

Section 4.  Nominating procedures for legislators on the Executive Committee.  The Legislator Nominating Committee shall present to the Annual Meeting a slate of candidates for the at-large positions, the member representing international affiliates and the annual meeting host state positions on the Executive Committee.  In nominating members for the Executive Committee, the Legislator Nominating Committee shall, insofar as possible, consider geographic balance.  At least ten of the at-large members of the Executive Committee shall be legislative leaders at the time of their election.  No more than two legislator members other than ex officio members shall come from the same state.

Section 5. Legislative Staff Nominating Committee duties. The Legislative Staff Nominating Committee shall present to the Annual Meeting a slate of candidates for the Executive Committee and the office of Staff Vice Chair. The Staff Chair succeeds automatically from the office of Staff Vice Chair. The Immediate Past Staff Chair succeeds automatically from the office of Staff Chair. All nominees of the Legislative Staff Nominating Committee shall be full-time professional legislative staff from member jurisdictions. In nominating legislative staff for the Executive Committee, the Legislative Staff Nominating Committee shall, insofar as possible, consider geographic balance. No more than one legislative staff member shall come from the same state, except that states represented by an officer or ex officio member may have two members.

Section 6. State representation on the Executive Committee. Each state shall have the opportunity to be represented on the Executive Committee at least once every five years.

Section 7. Consecutive terms. No member of the Executive Committee other than an officer or ex officio member may serve for more than three consecutive terms. Terms as officers or ex officio members shall not count toward the limitation of three consecutive terms.

Section 8. Floor nominations. Additional nominations may be made from the floor for the offices of Vice President and President-Elect. Such candidates shall be qualified under Article VII, Section 3.

Section 9. Voting procedures. Voting on the reports of the nominating committees shall be by member jurisdiction, and each member jurisdiction in good standing shall be entitled to cast one vote regardless of the number of delegates present from that jurisdiction. A majority of the member jurisdictions who respond to the most recent quorum call shall be required to adopt the reports of the nominating committees. If no nominee receives a majority of the member jurisdictions who respond to the most recent quorum call on the first ballot, there shall be a runoff ballot among the two nominees receiving the highest vote. The nominee who receives a majority of votes on the runoff ballot shall be elected.

ARTICLE VIII
Terms of Office and Vacancies

Section 1. Terms. The term of office for the officers and other members of the Executive Committee shall be from the close of the annual meeting through the next following annual meeting.

Section 2. Vacancies. In the event of a vacancy in the office of President, the Executive Committee shall elect a past President of the Conference or a member of the Executive Committee to serve the remainder of the term. Such person shall be of the same political party as the person vacating the office. In the event of a vacancy in the office of Staff Chair, the Staff Vice Chair shall succeed to the office of Staff Chair. The Executive Committee shall fill other elected offices, if vacant, at any regular or special meeting.

ARTICLE IX
Duties of Officers

Section 1. President. The President shall serve as chair of the Executive Committee and as a member, ex officio, with the right to vote, on all committees and subcommittees of the Executive Committee except the Nominating Committee. The President, with the approval or authorization of the Executive Committee, shall appoint the legislator officers and members of all appropriate committees and subcommittees of the Executive Committee. The President shall preside at all meetings of the Executive Committee. The President shall perform such other duties as are incidental to the office of President or as may be prescribed by the Executive Committee.

Section 2. President-Elect. The President-Elect shall perform the duties of the President in the event of the President's absence or inability to serve. Other duties may be delegated to the President-Elect by the Executive Committee or the President.

Section 3. Vice President. The Vice President shall perform the duties of the President-Elect in the event of the absence or inability of the President-Elect to serve. Other duties may be delegated to the Vice President by the Executive Committee or the President.

Section 4. Immediate Past President. The Immediate Past President shall serve as the President of the Foundation for State Legislatures and shall perform other duties as assigned by the Executive Committee and the President.

Section 5. Staff Chair. The Staff Chair shall serve as the chair of the Staff Division of the Conference and perform such other duties delegated by the Executive Committee or the President. The Staff Chair, with the approval or authorization of the Executive Committee, shall appoint the legislative staff officers and members of all appropriate committees and subcommittees of the Executive Committee.

Section 6. Staff Vice Chair. The Staff Vice Chair shall serve as Vice Chair of the Staff Division and shall perform the duties of the Staff Chair in the event of the officer's absence or inability to serve, and perform such other duties as may be delegated to the Staff Vice Chair by the Staff Chair or the Executive Committee.

Section 7. Immediate Past Staff Chair. The Immediate Past Staff Chair shall serve as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Foundation for State Legislatures and shall perform other duties as assigned by the Executive Committee and the Staff Chair.

Section 8. Appointment of Standing Committee Officers. The legislator officers of the Conference’s standing committees, including the overall standing committee legislator officers, shall be appointed by the President and the President-elect.  The staff officers of the Conference’s standing committees, including the overall standing committee legislative staff officers, shall be appointed by the Staff Chair.

ARTICLE X

Powers of the Executive Committee

Section 1. Executive Committee powers. The Executive Committee is the governing body of this Conference. The Executive Committee shall supervise, control and direct the affairs of the Conference; shall implement the policies of the Conference; shall actively prosecute its objectives; and supervise the disbursement of its funds. The Committee may adopt rules and regulations for the conduct of its business and may delegate certain of its authority and responsibility to committees, divisions, sections, officers, and the Executive Director.

ARTICLE XI
Executive Committee Procedures

Section 1. Quorum and voting. A majority of the Executive Committee's membership shall comprise a quorum. On any vote not otherwise specified, a simple majority of the members present and voting is required for passage. Each member shall be entitled to vote on any matter coming before the Committee. On any vote that places the Conference on record in a matter of public policy, legislative staff shall not be entitled to vote. All decisions on voting eligibility of staff members shall be made by the President, subject to appeal to the Executive Committee.

Section 2. Meetings of the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall meet at least three times each year at such time and place as the Committee shall decide. No more than one meeting during the Annual Meeting of the Conference shall be used to satisfy this requirement.

Section 3. Absences from Executive Committee meetings. Absence from two Executive Committee meetings within a year without cause shall be grounds for removal.

Section 4. Reimbursement. Upon authorization of the President, Executive Committee members may be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses for travel directly related to official NCSL activities. The officers may receive a per diem in addition to actual and necessary expenses if their home state does not pay such per diem.

Section 5. Executive Committee meetings open. All meetings of the Executive Committee shall be open to the public.

Section 6. Setting the Conference’s Priorities and Issues.  At the start of the biennium, the Executive Committee shall establish the state federal priorities and major state issues with input from the standing committees, task forces of the Executive Committee, the Conference’s officers, members of the Executive Committee and the Executive Director. These state federal priorities and major state issues shall serve to guide the Conference’s representation before the federal government, in standing committees and meeting programming and grant funded research.

Section  7. Adopting policy directives and resolutions under emergency circumstances. In emergency circumstances, when there is insufficient time to consider a new policy directive and resolution under normal processes, policy directives and resolutions having the same force and effect as policy directives and resolutions adopted by the full Conference may be established by either of the following means: (1) majority vote of the legislator members, present and voting, of the Executive Committee in meeting assembled; or (2) the unanimous agreement by conference call of the President, the President-Elect, the Vice President, the Immediate Past President, the Legislator Co-Chairs or a legislator Vice Chair of the NCSL Standing Committees, and the Legislator Co-Chairs or a legislator Vice Chair of the appropriate standing committee. Proposed policy directives and resolutions must be provided to the NCSL Executive Director by 4:00 p.m. of the day before the NCSL Executive Committee meeting.

ARTICLE XII
Committees and Subcommittees of the Executive Committee

Section 1. Committees and subcommittees. There shall be a Budget, Finance and Rules Committee, and such other committees and subcommittees as the Executive Committee may authorize. Membership on committees and subcommittees shall be divided between legislator and staff members in accord with voting eligibility on the Executive Committee, unless otherwise provided by the Executive Committee. The Legislator and Staff Chairs and members of these committees and subcommittees shall be appointed by the President and Staff Chair, respectively, with the approval of the Executive Committee.

ARTICLE XIII
Executive and Staff

Section 1. Executive Director. The Executive Committee shall appoint an Executive Director and determine the terms and conditions of employment.

Section 2. Duties of Executive Director. The Executive Director shall be the chief administrator of the Conference, responsible for all management functions under the direction of the officers and Executive Committee. The Executive Director shall manage and direct all activities of the Conference as prescribed by the Executive Committee and shall be responsible to the Committee. The Executive Director shall employ members of the staff necessary to carry on the work of the Conference, shall fix their compensation within the approved budget, subject to the direction and approval of the officers and Executive Committee, supervise them in the conduct of their duties, and terminate them as necessary.

Section 3. Deputy Executive Director. There shall be a Deputy Executive Director who shall perform duties as assigned by the Executive Director.

Section 4.  Acting Executive Director. In the event of an unanticipated vacancy in the position of Executive Director, the Deputy Executive Director shall be the Acting Executive Director for a designated period until the Executive Director returns or a permanent successor is named.

ARTICLE XIV
Finance

Section 1. Funding. The Executive Committee shall determine the funding of the Conference, which shall include but not be limited to membership dues. Population of each jurisdiction shall be a factor in the determination of the amount of dues.

Section 2. Financial Rules. The Budget and Finance Committee shall present to the Executive Committee a set of "Financial Rules," which, when adopted, shall govern the fiscal affairs of the Conference without re-adoption except that they may be amended from time to time. These Financial Rules shall establish the fiscal year of the Conference, set forth the extent of surety bonding required, provide for the annual audit, specify the way grants in aid are to be solicited and handled, and such other items of fiscal management as are deemed necessary.

Section 3. Conference Budget. The Budget and Finance Committee shall make budget recommendations to the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall submit to the Conference at its Annual Meeting a proposed budget for the coming fiscal year for consideration and adoption by the Conference. The Executive Committee may approve transfers of funds within the budget adopted by the Conference or amend the budget during the course of the fiscal year by a two-thirds vote of the entire Executive Committee.

Section 4. Financial audit. The accounts of the Conference shall be audited annually by a certified public accountant retained by the President with the approval of the Executive Committee. Such audit shall be reported to the Executive Committee and to the Conference at its Annual Meeting.

ARTICLE XV
Miscellaneous

Section 1. Political Activities. The Conference shall not, at any time, directly or indirectly participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.

ARTICLE XVI
Dissolution

Section 1. Dissolution. Upon dissolution of this Conference for any reason such funds remaining after the satisfaction of all obligations shall be returned to the member jurisdictions in the proportion to which they were received during the prior fiscal year.

ARTICLE XVII
Definitions

For the purposes of these bylaws and other instruments of the Conference, certain terms shall be defined as follows:
Section 1. Legislative leaders. “Legislative leaders” are those members of each legislature who are elected by the body in which they serve or by its respective political caucuses to be presiding officer, majority or minority leaders, and any other officers elected by the body as a whole; and any other legislator so designated by the presiding officer of either house.

Section 2. Regions. “Regions” refers to states and territories grouped together as prescribed by the bylaws of the Council of State Governments for the purpose of defining its regional legislative conferences.

ARTICLE XVIII
Amendments

Section 1. Amendments. The Conference at any meeting may amend these Bylaws by a three-fifths majority vote of the member jurisdictions who respond to the most recent quorum call. A state not present for the most recent quorum call can, before the start of the next roll call vote, request recognition from the presiding legislator Chair and be recorded for purposes of the quorum. New quorum calls shall be conducted at the request of five (5) member jurisdictions. A notice of such amendments shall be filed with the Executive Director at least thirty days prior to the meeting. Upon receipt of a copy of the proposed amendments, the Executive Director shall forward copies thereof to the presiding officers of each house of every member legislature and to the members of the Conference Executive Committee.

ARTICLE XIX
Effective Date

Section 1. Effective date. These Bylaws shall take effect on January 1, 1975, provided that they are adopted by the governing bodies of the National Legislative Conference, National Conference of State Legislative Leaders, and the National Society of State Legislators.

Amended at Legislative Summit, Los Angeles, August 2018.

*Adopted at the Annual Meeting in October, 1975 and amended at the Annual Meeting in July, 1976; August, 1977; July 1979; July 1988; August 1989; Orlando, Florida August 15 1991; New Orleans, Louisiana; July 25, 1994; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, July 17, 1995; St. Louis Missouri, 1996; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1997; Denver, Colorado, July 26, 2002; Salt Lake City, Utah, July 23, 2004; Nashville, Tennessee, August 17, 2006; Louisville, Kentucky, July 28, 2010; San Antonio, Texas, August 11, 2011; Chicago, Illinois, August 9, 2012; Atlanta, Georgia, August 15, 2013; Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 22, 2014; and Los Angeles, California, August 1, 2018..