The Forum for America’s Ideas
A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding the Organization of the National Conference of State Legislatures
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Table of Contents
Introduction (page 1)
Organization (page 2)
Governance (page 4)
Staff Sections and Staff Networks (page 8)
Standing Committees (page 15)
Services (page 18)
Professional Development Programs (page 18)
Research Assistance (page 21)
NCSL State-Assignment Staff (page 21)
Other Projects (page 22)
Frequently Asked Questions (page 23)
Glossary (page 26)
Appendix A (page 30)
NCSL 2007-2008 meetings schedule
Appendix B (page 31
NCSL brochure listing NCSL's staff-issue specialists, e-mail addresses for specific topic areas, state-assignment staff, and directions to submit an online request for information
Thank you for choosing to become involved in NCSL!
As a legislative staff member, you serve an important role in your state legislature. In recognition of that role, NCSL provides legislative staff with a variety of opportunities to learn, share, and contribute.
The information included in this notebook is designed to introduce you to NCSL and the opportunities and services available to you. The notebook describes many, but by no means all, of the programs and services NCSL offers. This information is also available to you at the NCSL website (www.ncsl.org).
We want your NCSL experience to be a positive one. As a legislative staff member, you play a vital role in NCSL, and we welcome and value your participation and contributions.
NCSL—the National Conference of State Legislatures—is a bipartisan organization that serves legislators and staffs of the nation’s 50 states, commonwealths, and territories.
Established in 1975, NCSL’s mission is to:
- Improve the quality and effectiveness of state legislatures;
- Promote policy innovation and communication among state legislatures; and
- Ensure state legislatures a strong, cohesive voice in the federal system.
To carry out its mission, NCSL provides legislators and staff with a variety of services geared toward helping legislators better serve their constituents and legislative staffs better serve their legislatures.
- Advances members’ ideas through information requests, research, and personal contact;
- Addresses the most pressing issues states face through its publications, website, and consulting services;
- Promotes the exchange of ideas through meetings and networking opportunities; and
- Takes members’ ideas to Capitol Hill by lobbying federal agencies and Congress on behalf of states.
The Executive Committee and NCSL Officers
NCSL is governed by the Executive Committee and selected officers. The committee and officers supervise, control, and direct NCSL, its committees, and publications; implement policy; and supervise the disbursement of funds.
The Executive Committee is composed of 60 elected members: seven officers; 30 legislators; four regional legislators from the Council of State Governments; three ex officio members; and 16 legislative staff members.
The seven officers are: president, president-elect, vice president, and immediate past president (who are legislators); and staff chair, staff vice chair, and immediate past staff chair (who are legislative staffers). Officers and ex officio members are selected for one-year terms. All other Executive Committee members are elected to one-year terms and can serve no more than three consecutive terms.
Legislator members of the Executive Committee are elected by the Legislator Nominating Committee, while legislative staff members are elected by the Legislative Staff Nominating Committee. NCSL bylaws prescribe the nomination and election process.
Each Executive Committee member is entitled to vote on any matter coming before the committee, except that legislative staff members are entitled to vote only on organizational matters, NOT on matters of public policy.
The Executive Committee meets four times a year. The president may call special meetings as necessary.
NCSL Executive Committee Officers
Staff Vice Chair
Immediate Past Staff Chair
Immediate Past President
Staff Chair of the Standing Committees
Chair of the Standing Committees
Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee (LSCC)
The LSCC oversees the legislative staff division of NCSL, coordinates the work of the staff sections, promotes the professional development of legislative staff, reviews and evaluates NCSL services to legislative staff, and advises the NCSL Executive Committee.
The LSCC is composed of legislative staff members elected to the Executive Committee, the overall staff chair and staff vice-chairs of the NCSL Standing Committees, two officers from each of the 10 staff sections, and four discretionary members appointed by the Staff Chair.
The LSCC meets in conjunction with the Executive Committee.