The American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries (ASLCS) was founded in 1943 to improve legislative administration and to establish better communication between clerks and secretaries throughout the United States and its territories. In 1974, ASLCS joined with several state legislative groups to form the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). From small beginnings, the Society has grown to include an active membership of over three hundred principal clerks and secretaries and legislative support staff. Today, the Society is the most active of NCSL's ten staff sections.
Purposes and Functions
ASLCS was created to provide an effective forum for solving professional problems common to legislative clerical officers and their staffs. Legislative clerks and secretaries and their staff members work in a unique environment for which little formal training is available. ASLCS works to fulfill these training needs. ASLCS training programs concentrate on:
- Improving the administrative and parliamentary effectiveness of state legislatures;
- Developing procedures for enhancing the lawmaking function;
- Improving the skills and professionalism of employees in the offices of clerks and secretaries;
- Increasing understanding of the roles and relationships among different staff activities and responsibilities; and
- Providing a forum in which clerks and secretaries can meet and learn from one another.
One major accomplishment of the Society is the revision of the Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure. At the invitation of NCSL, a special commission of ASLCS was established in 1984. The 1989 edition of Mason's is the most widely used manual of parliamentary procedure in state legislatures. The commission continues within the Society. Another revised publication is planned at the end of the decade, based upon changes in case law and parliamentary practice.
Membership and Operations
The Society's membership is made up of the elected or appointed legislative clerks and secretaries in the 50 states and the possessions and territories of the U.S.A. Associate members are legislative employees designated by the principal clerks and secretaries from the personnel in their offices. Any former member may maintain an associate level membership. Associates make up the largest segment of the Society's membership. The Society's operations are governed by its bylaws and standing orders under the guidance of the Executive Committee, and most of the work of the Society is done in committees. The Society meets four times a year. The spring and winter meetings are working meetings for the Society's standing committees and the Executive Committee. The summer meeting is held in association with the NCSL Annual Meeting. Each fall, the Society holds the ASLCS Annual Professional Development Seminar.
ASLCS has supportive working relations with its counterparts in Canada and Central America--the Association of Clerks-at-the-Table in Canada and La Associaciode Technicos Legislativos CentroAmericanos (ATELCA), which includes Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. The Society currently is working to establish relations with clerks of the Mexican states.
For more information about ASLCS, contact: Angela Andrews, NCSL Staff Liaison.