Snapshots from Atlanta SL Magazine October 2013

Snapshots from Atlanta | October/November 2013


Atlanta lived up to its “Hotlanta” nickname during NCSL’s Legislative Summit in August, warmly welcoming nearly 5,000 lawmakers, staff and others to the cool, cavernous Georgia World Congress Center, where tireless volunteers from the Georgia General Assembly helped attendees find their way to four general sessions, 100+ policy and committee meetings, and the Exhibit Hall, filled with 181 exhibitors.

An all-star lineup of keynote speakers included the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court, Sandra Day O’Connor; CNN commentator David Gergen; TIAA-CREF CEO Roger Ferguson; and Standard & Poor’s Chief U.S. Economist Beth Ann Bovino. Policy sessions covered a range of hot topics, from data mining and drones to mobile apps and military veterans.

Outgoing NCSL President Terrie Norelli hands the gavel to new President Bruce StarrAttendees also found time to pack more than 1,000 backpacks of food for Atlanta’s kids through the Backpack Buddy Challenge organized by NCSL’s Hunger Partnership. States competed for $12,000 in grants provided by Yum! Foods to use for fighting hunger in their states. Georgia packed the most backpacks, followed by New Mexico and Utah, while New Hampshire and Oregon had the highest participation rates.

Networking opportunities abounded at the opening “Georgia on My Mind” reception, several interactive policy sessions, the walk for wellness, bipartisan bike ride, and the “Whale of an Evening,” final event at the aquarium.

Next year’s Summit takes us to beautiful Minneapolis, Aug. 19- 22. Mark the date now as it’s sure to be another great Summit full of inspiring speakers, dynamic sessions and fun networking events.

Changing of the Guard:  New Officers

  •   President: Oregon Senator Bruce Starr (R)
  •   President-Elect: Nevada Senator Debbie Smith (D)
  •  Vice President: Utah Senator Curt Bramble (R)
  •  Staff Chair: Tom Wright, chief of staff for the Alaska House speaker
  •  Staff Vice Chair: Margaret “Peggy” Piety, staff attorney, Indiana Legislative Services Agency



“The summit covered everything—

as much information as an individual could choose to obtain.”


“The best session was the immigration panel with an update on the federal immigration bill.”


“There were several very helpful, substantive sessions, like the pension track, legal implications of social media, how to evaluate large data sets.”


“I enjoyed the bill information services training because I can see myself using it.”



“ Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius capsulated so much information into a single address.”


Tweets from the Summit

David Gergen: Had a fascinating day at @NCSLorg Legislative Summit.

Atlanta Community Food Bank: The bags have been filled and we’re done at the #NCSLSummit!

Governing: A new @NCSLorg report forecasts slower revenue growth. Illinois Representative Ken Dunkin: Listening to the dynamic Roger Ferguson discuss how states must rethink, repair and restart local & state pension systems. #NCSLSummit

U.S. Dept. of Transportation: State legislators at #NCSLsummit know the value of #transportation investments.

By the Numbers




States and territories represented


Countries represented


World War II veterans/state lawmakers honored with medals


Attendees who used the Summit app


News stories about

the Summit nationwide


Tweets on

the Summit


Federal policy priorities adopted

  • Ensure that any U.S. deficit reduction plan does not unfairly burden states.
  • Pass the Marketplace Fairness Act to give states the authority to collect taxes already owed them from remote sales.
  • Pass the Digital Goods and Services Act to create a national framework for taxing digital purchases.
  • Reauthorize the food and nutrition programs in the Farm Bill.
  • Support a strong higher education system that encourages individual financial success and a strong economy.
  • Support federal educational assistance for military veterans.
  • Fund state pilot programs that explore transportation funding alternatives.


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