Governance - RACSS Bylaws
Article I: General Provisions
Section 1: Name
The name of this organization is the Research and Committee Staff Section (RACSS), part of the legislative staff division of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
Section 2: Purposes
The purposes of this staff section are:
1. To improve the quality and effectiveness of services to state legislatures, including research services, policy analysis services, general legislative services, and committee services.
2. To promote communication and information exchange among the members of the staff section.
3. To enhance the professionalism and skills of the members of the staff section.
4. To promote the service of members of the staff section in the activities of NCSL.
Section 3: Membership
A staff member employed by a member legislature of the National Conference of State Legislatures and who provides research services, policy analysis services, general legislative services, or committee services is a member of the staff section.
Article II: Executive Committee
Section 1: Membership
The executive committee of the staff section shall consist of a chair, a vice-chair, and seven directors, one of whom shall be the immediate past chair. In addition, the staff section secretary and the editor of the staff section newsletter shall be nonvoting members of the executive committee, (unless the editor is also an officer or director).
Section 2: Officers
The officers of the staff section shall consist of a chair and vice-chair.
1. The chair shall serve a one-year term and shall preside at meetings of the executive committee and staff section, and shall have general management and control of the affairs of the staff section, subject to the approval of the executive committee.
2. The vice-chair, who is also the chair-elect, shall serve a one-year term and shall perform such duties as may be assigned by the chair. The vice-chair shall succeed the following year to the office of chair.
3. The chair and vice-chair, or their designee, shall serve as the representatives of the staff section on the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee (LSCC) of NCSL, and shall participate in the activities and projects of such committees of the LSCC to which they are assigned.
4. The secretary of the staff section shall be the NCSL staff member assigned to the staff section.
Section 3: Directors
Directors of the staff section shall be elected from the membership of the staff section for a term of two years and may be reelected for a second consecutive term. three directors shall be elected each even-numbered year and three directors shall be elected each odd-numbered year. If a member of the staff section is appointed to fill a vacancy on the executive committee and the balance of the term is one year or less, the member remains eligible to be elected to two consecutive terms. If the balance of a term to which a member is appointed is greater than one year, the member is considered to have served one full term and is eligible to be elected to serve one additional term. The immediate past chair shall serve one one-year term.
Section 4: Quorum
A quorum for transaction of business by the executive committee is a majority of the voting members of the executive committee.
Section 5: Meetings
The executive committee shall meet at the call of the chair during the Annual Meeting of NCSL. Other meetings of the executive committee shall be held at the discretion of chair in conjunction with other NCSL meetings, and at such other times as a majority of the voting members of the executive committee shall agree. Meetings may be conducted by conference telephone call at the discretion of the chair.
Section 6: Responsibilities
The executive committee shall:
1. Plan and execute the staff section’s program at the Annual Meeting of NCSL, and at any other meetings of the staff section held in conjunction with an NCSL meeting.
2. Keep the membership of the staff section informed of activities relating to the staff section, staff activities of NCSL, and topics of interest to members of the staff section.
3. Develop and implement seminars for members of the staff section.
4. Recommend to the membership of the staff section at the annual business meeting such action as the executive committee deems appropriate.
Section 7: Committees
To assist the executive committee in the performance of its responsibilities, the chair may establish committees comprised of members of the staff section, with the approval of the executive committee.
Article III: Election Of Executive Committee
Section 1: Nominating Committee
Each year no later than 90 days prior to the NCSL Annual Meeting, the chair shall appoint a 3-member nominating committee comprised of the immediate past chair, vice-chair, and a member of the staff section not serving on the executive committee and not a candidate for election to the executive committee. The vice-chair shall serve as chair of the nominating committee. The nominating committee shall encourage members of the staff section to become candidates for the executive committee and place a notice in the RACSS newsletter regarding forthcoming vacancies. Such notice shall indicate the names of those serving on the nominating committee and shall solicit candidates for the executive committee. The nominating committee shall implement an equitable process for evaluating candidates and shall explain that process in the notice of vacancies. At the annual business meeting, the nominating committee shall present for consideration a slate of nominees for vice-chair and for vacant director positions. Additional nominations for staff section officers and directors may be made from the floor.
Section 2: Vacancies
If a vacancy occurs in the office of chair or vice-chair, the executive committee shall appoint a person to fill the vacancy for the balance of the term. If a vacancy occurs in the office of director, the chair, with the approval of the executive committee, shall appoint a member of the staff section to fill the vacancy for the balance of the term. If at the time of succession the vice-chair is unable to assume the office of chair, the nominating committee shall nominate a person to fill the office of chair. The nomination will be part of the slate of candidates presented for consideration at the annual business meeting.
Article IV: Staff Section Business
Section 1: Annual Business Meeting
The staff section shall hold its annual business meeting in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of NCSL. The chair shall preside at the business meeting, and shall be responsible for conducting staff section business and elections.
Section 2: Quorum and Voting
A quorum for the transaction of business by the staff section shall comply with NCSL permanent rules applying to staff sections in effect at the time of the meeting. Legislative staff eligible for membership in the staff section shall be eligible to vote. Business which requires approval of the staff section shall require approval of a majority of staff section members attending the RACSS annual business meeting.
Section 3: Amendment of Bylaws
The members of the staff section shall be notified of proposed amendments to the staff section bylaws through the RACSS Newsletter or in a general mailing to all members on the RACSS mailing list. The notification shall be at least thirty days before the annual business meeting and shall include a copy of the current bylaws and of all proposed changes. Amendments shall be considered at the annual business meeting of the staff section. Unless otherwise stated, amendments to the bylaws shall take immediate effect.
Section 4: Meetings and Notices
The staff section shall meet as required by the staff section bylaws and at other times as determined by the chair with the approval of the executive committee of the staff section. Notice of the date, time, place, and purpose of meetings of the staff section shall be given in writing to appropriate legislative staff members at least 30 days in advance of the meeting, either through the staff section newsletter, or through a meeting announcement mailed to the appropriate members of the staff section.
Section 5: NCSL Annual Meeting
In accordance with NCSL permanent rules applying to staff sections, the staff section shall meet annually in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of NCSL. The staff section shall present programs for its members, in the time slots designated for staff section activities by the NCSL Executive Committee.
Section 6: Additional Meetings
The staff section may meet in conjunction with the meetings of the NCSL Standing Committees or other meetings of NCSL, at the discretion of the chair.
Section 7: Professional Development Seminar
The staff section may present professional development seminars for legislative research and committee staff. The date, location, and agenda shall be determined by the chair, in consultation with the executive committee and staff section secretary.
Section 8: Staff Section Newsletter
The staff section shall publish a periodic newsletter to inform members of the staff section regarding RACSS programs, meetings, publications, nominations, elections, and news about legislatures, legislative staff and NCSL, and to provide a forum for discussion of issues of interest. The chair shall be the editor of the newsletter or may designate a member of the staff section to serve a one-year term as newsletter editor. The newsletter shall be made available electronically on the RACSS Internet home page and, if printed, one copy of the newsletter shall be mailed to each staff section member.
Section 9: Staff Section Directory
The staff section may publish an annual Directory of Key Research Contacts, listing the key research staff and offices in each state. The directory shall be made available electronically on the RACSS Internet home page and, if printed, one copy of the directory shall be provided to each member of the staff section.
Article V: RACSS Revenue Account
Section 1: Professional Development Revenue Account
Net revenue from RACSS seminars shall be retained in a separate RACSS Revenue Account for the Research and Committee Staff Section.
Section 2: Expenditures
Net revenue from the RACSS Revenue Account shall be used solely for professional development purposes at the annual RACSS fall seminar. Professional development activities include, but are not limited to, speaker honoraria and travel expenses; brochures, handouts and meeting materials; program-related costs, such as audio-visual charges, meeting room rental and ground transportation for site visits; and other expenses approved by the RACSS Executive Committee.
Section 3: Minimum Balance
A minimum amount of $1,500.00 shall be maintained in the RACSS Revenue Account, to offset losses at future RACSS seminars.
Section 4: Management of Account
Funds in the RACSS Revenue Account shall be managed in an account maintained by NCSL.
Section 5: Approval of Expenditures
Expenditures from the RACSS Revenue Account must be approved by the RACSS Executive Committee, at the request of the RACSS Chair and Secretary.
Adopted August, 1979, San Francisco, California
Amended August, 1988, Reno, Nevada
Amended July, 1996, St. Louis, Missouri
Amended July, 1998, Las Vegas, Nevada
Amended July, 1999, Indianapolis, Indiana
Amended July 2002, Denver, Colorado
Amended, July, 2004, Salt Lake City, Utah
Amended, August, 2006, Nashville, Tennessee
Amended, August, 2007, Boston, Massachusetts
Amended, July, 2010, Louisville, Kentucky