National Association of Legislative Information Technology (NALIT) Legislative Staff Achievement Award Winners
Past NALIT Achievement Award Winners
- 2013: Gary Schaefer, Senate, Louisiana
Wisconsin Software Development Team
- 2012: Jonathan Palmore, Senate, Virginia
Maryland Office of Information Systems
- 2011: Linda Pittsford, Texas
IdahoGEMS Development Team
- 2010: Terri Clark, Kansas
Utah Legislature Information Systems Team
- 2009: Maryann Trauger, North Dakota
Florida House Information Technology Office
- 2008: Gary Wieman, Nebraska
- 2007: Illinois LIS Team
Virginia Senate and DLAS Team
- 2006: Michael Adams, Colorado
Team of Lou Adamson and Scott Darnall
- 2005: Tim Rice, Illinois
Washington Electronic Bill Book Team
- 2004: Rick Johnson, Washington
Dave Larson, Kansas
- 2003: Sean Johnson, House, Florida
Allan Smith, Nevada
- 2002: Ann McLaughlin, Delaware
Jim Swain, Kentucky
- 2001: Sharon Crouch, House, Virginia
Danny T. Jackson, Kentucky
- 2000: Sandy Scharf, Iowa
Jeffrey Blanchard, Florida
- 1999: Mark Allred, Utah
Nebraska Legislative Technology Center
- 1998: Bill Behnk, California
Jim Greenwalt, Senate, Minnesota
- 1997: Missouri House Computer Operations
Herman Pearson, Wisconsin
For more information, contact Pam Greenberg.
The NALIT Legislative Staff Achievement Award was created to recognize excellence in supporting the work of a state legislature and strengthening the legislative institution. Recipients are recognized for: 1) helping to improve the effectiveness of the legislative institution; 2) supporting the legislative process and the mission of the legislature; 3) exhibiting a high degree of professionalism, competence, and integrity in serving the legislature and the public; 4) contributing to the work of the National Conference of State Legislatures; 5) contributing to the National Association of Legislative Information Technology; and 6) contributing to existing knowledge/demonstrating expertise in a particular field.
For more information, see the award criteria and eligibility or contact Pam Greenberg, NCSL Staff Liaison to NALIT, NCSL Denver Office.
Information Systems Coordinator, Louisiana Senate
The National Association of Legislative Information Technology recognizes Gary Schaefer, Information Systems Coordinator for the Louisiana Senate, in recognition of his active and ardent support of NALIT and NCSL and for his efforts and activities for the enhancement and advancement of the work of state legislatures.
In his position at the Louisiana Senate, Gary helps innovate and support the Senate’s technology, processes, and systems. Gary also is an active member of NALIT. He is currently a Director on the NALIT Executive Committee, serving in that capacity a second time after his first term from 2002-2004. Gary also served as NALIT Secretary, Vice-Chair, and, in 2008-08, as Chair. He has been a member of numerous NALIT committees and has spoken at, moderated and helped to coordinate sessions for NALIT meetings. In 2008, Gary also coordinated and hosted a tour and briefings for NALIT at the Louisiana State Capitol.
Beyond his official roles in NALIT, Gary is always among the first to share his ideas about legislative technology and about the role of legislative staff in support of their institutions. He’s very often the first to volunteer his services or introduce a special guest. He is always encouraging and welcoming to new NALIT members. There are countless other examples of things Gary has done in support of NCSL, NALIT, and his colleagues in legislative technology offices around the country. Gary always exhibits a high degree of professionalism and competence as a representative of the Louisiana Senate’s staff, and his enthusiasm for the true spirit of public service never wanes.
Wisconsin Legislative Technology Services Bureau (LTSB), Software Development Team
The National Association of Legislative Information Technology recognizes the Wisconsin Legislative Technology Service Bureau’s (LTSB) Software Development Team for development of a successful bill drafting and legislative database system. Completing the work in-house saved the legislature millions and resulted in user-friendly systems that are designed for efficiency and accuracy.
The system serves the Assembly, Senate, and the Legislature as a whole, through efficient processing of legislative proposals and information input and output, as well as all document publication. The system went live in Sept. 2012, when the drafting agency first converted to the new system for bill drafting for the 2013-14 legislative session. The Senate and Assembly Clerk’s applications went live at the beginning of the January 2013 session. LTSB Director Jeff Ylvisaker and team members Doug DeMuth, Tony Snelling, Dan Fitch, John Pellett, Brett Betchey, Carlos Conti, Jerry Federspiel, Arun Subramanian, Amanda Duesterbeck, and Lucas Chasteen continue to enhance the system to meet the needs of their legislative users.
The LSTB also hosted members of NALIT attending the NCSL “Super PDS” in Madison, Wisconsin in October 2012, helping to plan sessions and providing tours and in-depth briefings for attendees at the LSTB offices.
Senior Assistant Clerk of Technology for the Virginia Senate
The National Association of Legislative Information Technology (NALIT) recognizes Jonathan Palmore for his service to the Virginia Senate and his contributions to NALIT.
Jonathan has been active in both NALIT and the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries, serving on panels at the professional development seminars of both staff sections as well as at the NCSL Legislative Summit. He currently serves as a NALIT director and has previously served on various NALIT committees. He is always willing to share his ideas and expertise with his colleagues in other states.
Jonathan also is a strong team member of the Virginia Senate who always considers the needs of the agency and the Senators. He is constantly striving to find solutions to problems and make technology more flexible to meet the demands of his customers.
Jonathan recently was instrumental in moving the Senate from a Lotus platform to a Google platform. He and his team spent countless hours to make the transition as seamless as possible. One of the challenges faced during the transition to Google and the use of iPads, however, was that members were not as satisfied with the calendaring portion of the chamber automation system.
Jonathan suggested that he could create a solution to allow Senators to have a replica of their printed calendar on their iPad. It was flexible, clean and allowed them to bounce easily between the calendar and bill status and also allowed them to make and access notes more easily than with the old system.
In addition, the solution was integrated with the voting system that the Senate had previously developed in-house, giving members immediate access to floor votes. It also was integrated with the committee docket system, so that with two small steps members could switch back and forth easily. It eliminated the use of bills books in committee and eliminated the need for three session staff positions, as well saving time spent manually compiling bill books. It was a savings of about $38,000, not including paper costs.
Senators were very happy with the solution, and the number of members using the chamber automation system increased immediately. This new calendar program is a prime example of how Jonathan constantly strives to use technology to enhance the process and provide more flexible programs for members and staff. NALIT is pleased to present this award to Jonathan Palmore.
The Team of Steve Dustin, Gopali Nanda, and Heather Kohler
Office of Information Systems, Maryland Department of Legislative Services
NALIT recognizes the team of Steve Dustin, Gopali Nanda, and Heather Kohler for their contribution to a successful redistricting process during the most recent Maryland legislative session. Staff of the Maryland Office of Information Systems have been active members of NALIT and have served as presenters at NALIT sessions.
Every ten years following the U.S. Census, states must redistrict their congressional and legislative district boundaries to meet constitutional standards. This past year, in October 2011, the Maryland General Assembly met to take up congressional redistricting. Because congressional districting requires that districts be as exact as possible in terms of population (no variance, no matter how small, is considered to be “safe” when drawing districts) it is necessary to split voting precincts in order to reach the degree of exactness required for one person, one vote standards.
Software available today allows analysts to achieve that kind of exactitude; however, the real problem is that translating the census codes for blocks into the required legislative language is painstaking work, requiring a tremendous amount of data input and rigorous proofreading and editing. Errors require technical amendments to be drafted and adopted on the floor, thereby slowing the process and potentially creating more controversy on a very controversial issue.
Staff of the Office of Information Systems were asked if they could design a solution to remove human error from the drafting process, and whether it could be accomplished in the approximately two and a half months before the regular session convened.
The team of Steve Dustin, Gopali Nanda, and Heather Kohler took on the task and built an application using Excel and the bill drafting system so that reports generated by the redistricting software were converted into spreadsheets. The application then went through the spreadsheets, identified each bit of census geography, whether county, precinct, or block and assigned it to the correct district. The application then created the bill language in Word so that it could be imported into the bill drafting system without the need for manual data entry. Additionally, the application creates another spreadsheet that enlarges the font and provides a flag each time a census tract changes. This “proofing” spreadsheet also separated the tract and block numbers to make it easier to read against the bill language.
The application worked flawlessly. Legislative editors and proofreaders could find no errors in any of the redistricting bills prepared for introduction. Manually drafting a single redistricting plan could take many hours. The new application, which runs as an Excel macro, can create the bill language in approximately 40 minutes to an hour.
This programming work was essential to a successful redistricting process during the regular session. It clearly improved effectiveness by saving countless hours of manual input in the drafting process. It eliminated the need for technical amendments to correct typographical errors. The team was able to quickly comprehend the logic behind creating a working application, test it, and put it into production—all within eight weeks.
Linda Pittsford, Deputy Director and Senate Affairs Liaison, Information Systems Division, Texas Legislative Council
The National Association of Legislative Information Technology recognizes Linda Pittsford for her dedicated service to the Texas Legislature and her outstanding contributions to NALIT and NCSL. Linda is deputy director and Senate affairs liaison in the Information Systems Division at the Texas Legislative Council. She previously led the Computer Support Center, which provides hardware/network control services, help desk support, training and documentation, end-user acceptance testing, and computer consulting services to the Texas Legislature and other legislative agencies. She began her career at the council as a computer trainer.
Linda has been actively involved in NCSL and NALIT. She has served in all the leadership roles within NALIT and has facilitated and spoken at numerous NALIT sessions. She plays a key role in sharing the technical expertise and information technology advances in the Texas Legislature, and is interested in and knowledgeable about legislative information technology trends in other states.
Linda is an active participant in NCSL’s Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee (LSCC). She is a vice chair of the Strengthening Legislative Staff Work Group. She also serves as a vice chair of the Communications, Financial Services and Interstate Commerce Committee. She previously served as chair of LSCC’s Staff Section Officers.
Linda hosted the 2009 NALIT Professional Development Seminar in Austin, giving a great deal of personal time and her heart and soul, to provide NALIT members with a quality professional development opportunity during difficult economic times. Linda’s personal warmth and enthusiasm never wane. We are pleased to recognize Linda Pittsford with the 2011 NALIT Legislative Staff Achievement Award.
Idaho Legislature’s GEMS Development Team
NALIT recognizes the Idaho Legislature’s GEMS Development Team, under the direction of Application Development Manager Norma Clark, for its work in developing the Idaho Legislature’s Government Electronic Management System (GEMS). In addition to Norma, the team includes Noreen Chen, IT systems analyst/database administrator; Michael Ramshaw, IT programmer analyst; and Kelly Reister, senior IT programmer analyst.
Six years in development, GEMS was designed to provide a single, integrated system that includes bill drafting and tracking, creation of subject and code indexes, daily documents necessary to the operations of the Idaho House and Senate, print publications and Web publishing. By streamlining and integrating the legislative process, the system makes it possible to enter data only once, then to create a multitude of products—from draft bills to final journals—with increased accuracy and efficiency. The GEMS team followed a comprehensive timeline for development and testing and met or exceeded every milestone. Programming was done in-house and costs were kept low. The transition to GEMS during the 2009 legislative session was seamless, and the system was deemed an overwhelming success by legislative leadership and staff. The team developed new committee applications and document templates for the 2011 session. The project team currently is surveying staff users and is developing a list of possible new applications and enhancements.
The GEMS team coordinated this tremendously successful undertaking from start to finish and epitomized the highest level of professional staff standards. The team is dedicated to the premise that stakeholders should be thoroughly involved in every aspect of development. Manager Norma Clark brought a tremendous intellect and natural curiosity to her approach in problem solving that can’t be taught, and always exhibits a sense of humor and an approachable style that make staff and legislators comfortable and confident when working with her. Norma has been a member of NALIT since the 1980s.
The Team of Mark Allred, Richard Amon and Stan Eckersley, Utah Legislature
NALIT recognizes the team of Mark Allred, Richard Amon and Stan Eckersley of the Utah Legislature for their fiscal notes software redesign. Together, these dedicated staff worked across office boundaries to improve significantly the process by which the Utah Legislature develops fiscal notes on proposed legislation. The new system shortened the fiscal notes turn-around deadline from 72 hours to 24 hours. This was not only a fiscal process improvement, but also a boon to legislative effectiveness—speeding the processes by which bills were assigned to committees and allowing bill sponsors to have fiscal notes available before presenting a bill to a standing committee or on the floor.
Mark, Rich and Stan went beyond expectations to redesign the system in the six months before the 2010 General Session, with no additional resources. Because fiscal notes are a vital part of the legislative process, this improvement played a major role in increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of the Legislature. In addition, Mark Allred and other Utah legislative staff, with the support of Utah legislative leadership, have been active participants in NCSL and NALIT, sharing their expertise and experience with other states.
Terri Clark, Assistant Director for Infrastructure, Kansas Legislature
NALIT recognizes Terri Clark for her role in substantially improving the availability of information in the Kansas Legislature. In 2004, the Legislature embarked on a six-year strategic plan with a vision of an integrated, enterprise-wide legislative information and services system. Achieving this vision required an entirely new infrastructure and the implementation of technology the Legislature did not then possess. Terri Clark was delegated the responsibility to shepherd the definition, design and development of this infrastructure.
In the next six years, Terri accumulated a lengthy list of accomplishments, including responsibilities related to installation and implementation of state-of-the-art desktop and secure wireless networks, an IP TV system, new voting systems and boards, an off-site data center capable of restoring the Legislature to full capacity within 30 minutes, and a digital infrastructure for the preservation of electronic permanent and enduring records. That is a partial list. Terri has raised expectations for herself and her colleagues while encouraging the free and open exchange of ideas and solutions. Her accomplishments have helped lead the Kansas Legislature to new and efficient technologies.
Throughout this period, Terri found time to make significant contributions to NALIT. She served as a speaker, moderator and coordinator for numerous NALIT sessions and has also shared her expertise by writing several newsletter articles for the association. Terri is a NALIT director and served as a NALIT committee member. NALIT is pleased to recognize Terri Clark with the 2010 NALIT Legislative Staff Achievement Award.
Maryann Trauger is the Manager of Information Technology Services for the North Dakota Legislative Council, where she has served the legislature since 1974. Her responsibility is to provide information technology solutions to support and enhance the functions and the operations of the North Dakota General Assembly. Maryann has also been fully engaged with NALIT for many years. She has been an active participant in annual meetings and professional development seminars; been a member of and chaired numerous committees; and served as a NALIT director, secretary, vice chair, chair, and past chair (the latter for three consecutive years). Maryann is also a proponent of NCSL and has served on the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee. She advocates for legislative staff and for opportunities to strengthen staff through networking and collaboration. Additionally, Maryann is a friend to all. Her smile is ever present, and she expresses genuine concern for others. She is a loving wife, mother, and grandmother while maintaining her work responsibilities. NALIT is pleased to present Maryann with the 2009 Legislative Staff Achievement Award.
Florida House of Representatives “Pericles” Project, House IT Office
The Florida House IT Office’s Pericles Project is a collection of initiatives that has simplified public access to the House of Representatives, enhanced the transparency of the legislative process, and reduced costs by using less paper. The project was named for Pericles, the Athenian statesman, orator and general who promoted civic life and participatory democracy. The Pericles Project implemented a free public wireless network in the capitol, placed print-on-demand kiosks throughout the capitol complex, and designed website features that allow users to add session calendar items or other House calendar events to personal calendars and PDAs. In addition, the House website offers podcasts that allow citizens to hear the complete audio recordings of all House council and committee meetings. More than 1,200 committee and council meetings have been downloaded, such as those of the House Committee on Autism and Other Development Disorders, which were especially popular among families of autistic children.
Network Manager, Legislative Technology Center, Nebraska
The National Association of Legislative Information Technology (NALIT) is pleased to present the 2008 NALIT Staff Achievement Award to Gary Wieman for his many contributions to NALIT, NCSL and the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature. Gary served as NALIT Chair from 2006 to 2007, serving a dual role as Chair and Vice Chair due to an unexpected vacancy and then serving his own term as well. As Chair, Gary led efforts to expand committee work and outreach to other staff sections, as well as to IT staff who are not currently members of NALIT. He also served as NALIT Secretary from 2004 to 2005 and Director from 2002 to 2004. He has served on the IT Survey, Outreach, Web Page Exploratory, Seminar Planning and Nominating Committees. Over the last ten years, NALIT members also have benefited from Gary's involvement as coordinator, moderator or presenter for an extraordinary number of sessions. Gary has also served NCSL as a member of the NCSL Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee's Technology Subcommittee and E-Learning and Technology Review Committee. Lastly, Gary has represented NALIT at international meetings and has promoted increased cooperation between NALIT members and parliamentary IT staff in other countries.
Gary also has made significant contributions to the Legislative Technology Center at the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature, where he has worked since May 1995. He is responsible for the administration, management and security of all hardware, software and resources that comprise the Nebraska Legislature’s network. In addition, Gary manages the Center's Helpdesk staff members who provide training and support for legislative employees. In the ten years he’s been at the Legislature, Gary has played a major role in the transition from a partial mainframe environment to a completely client server computing environment. He developed a server-based upgrade and installation procedure, created an extraction and transfer system for data exported to external entities and created the print server concept, acquiring the necessary drivers to implement it. He also played a key role in converting the Legislature’s network from token-ring to Ethernet. Gary assisted in the design and implementation of the Legislature’s voting board and Journal systems and developed requirements and implementation procedures for the initial and subsequent laptop systems in the legislative chamber. His other responsibilities include developing and maintaining the security, disaster recovery and appropriate use policies and drafting the Legislature’s technology budget.
Illinois Legislative Information System Chamber Services Team
The National Association of Legislative Information Technology (NALIT) is pleased to present the 2007 NALIT Staff Achievement Award to a team of individuals from the Illinois Legislative Information System. In 2004 the Chamber Services team of the Legislative Information System was charged with developing an electronic voting system for the Illinois Senate. The result was a state-of-the-art solution that provided all required and desired functionality along with direct responsibility for support, maintenance, and future enhancements. The House requested and received a similar solution in 2006, and both are performing quite well for the Illinois General Assembly.
Beyond the obvious service to Illinois, this work has been of broader benefit to the legislative community as a whole. The team has been willing to discuss and share their knowledge and experience with other states, both individually and at NALIT meetings. This level of cooperation has contributed substantially to the broadening of information about voting system options available to legislatures, to the good of all concerned.
Virginia Senate Clerk's Office and the Virginia Division of Legislative Automated Systems
The National Association of Legislative Information Technology is pleased to recognize the combined team of the Virginia Senate Clerk's Office and the Virginia Division of Legislative Automated Systems (DLAS) for the 2007 NALIT Staff Achievement Award. After visiting Illinois to learn about that state's newly developed electronic voting system, information technology staff of the Senate Clerk's Office and DLAS determined that a collaborative effort to develop a voting system by the two Virginia legislative agencies could save money and result in a faster and more efficient legislative process. Using new voting boards and controls allowed the Senate to present a clearer view of voting information in the chamber, as well as more flexibility in how the information is delivered through various reports.
This team project also involved personnel from the Senate's desk operations staff, journal staff, committee operations and other areas that impact directly on the desk, making this a true collaborative effort. Many of the staff involved also are active members of NCSL's National Association of Legislative Information Technology and American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries.
Michael Adams, Director
Legislative Information Services, Colorado
The National Association of Legislative Information Technology recognizes Michael Adams for his commitment and service to the Colorado General Assembly, NALIT, and NCSL. He consistently brings to each of these a high level of knowledge, a constant perspective of the primacy of the legislative process, and a dedication to excellence.
Michael has proven himself to be a leader over and again in directing a staff, participating on committees and task forces, serving as an officer, and simply interacting with his peers. His manner is quiet and effective, and it is never about him; rather, it is about the job to be done and the purposes to be served and the people involved throughout. Michael will shoulder the responsibility, see the task through to successful completion, and give the credit to those who worked with him.
Beyond his service as a NALIT officer and a member of LSCC and the Executive Committee, Michael has led in encouraging others to participate in NCSL opportunities. Whether that is urging his information technology peers to become more integrated into other areas or helping those less literate in technology to understand how it can be of benefit to them, he is truly inclusive, seeking to bring all together for the common and greater good. Michael deserves this recognition, and NALIT is pleased and proud to honor him with the 2006 Legislative Staff Achievement Award.
Team Lou Adamson and Scott Darnall
Legislative Research Council, South Dakota
NALIT recognizes the team of Lou Adamson and Scott Darnall for their dedication and service to the South Dakota Legislature and to NALIT. They are prime examples of legislative staff who give their best and do their best, providing both quantity and quality that rivals that of states with far larger staffs.
While Lou and Scott comprise the total legislative information technology staff for South Dakota, they have accomplished great things in the services they provide to their members, other staff, and to the public. Their work is a model of efficient use of resources to meet the needs of their constituency, and it is done with excellence.
Both Lou and Scott have also been very involved in NALIT, giving presentations, serving on committees and as officers, and hosting the 2005 Professional Development Seminar. Even more, they are always willing to interact with their peers, sharing their knowledge and experience, exemplifying what is best about NALIT. NALIT is proud to provide them with well-deserved recognition in the form of the 2006 Legislative Staff Achievement Award.
Tim Rice, Executive Director Illinois Legislative Information System
Tim Rice is the Executive Director of the Illinois Legislative Information System and an active NALIT member. Tim has always looked for ways to collaborate with fellow NALIT members. It was an email from Tim posing the concept that perhaps states struggling with obsolete bill status systems should join forces and work together toward one common goal. The outcome of the suggestion was the Multi-State project. While that concept was not completely realized, the spirit of Tim’s idea is the embodiment of what NALIT is about. Further, as a result of this project, worthwhile dialogs were initiated between the states and helped form alliances between states with similar product goals.
Tim has also significantly impacted the Illinois Legislature. Under Tim’s leadership, Illinois has progressed through a four year project completely reengineering their comprehensive legislative information systems including bill drafting and tracking. Every step of the way, Tim has offered to share his successes and failures in order to help colleagues in other states. Most recently, Tim and his staff developed an in-house voting system to replace their antiquated Daktronics system. As soon as it was operational, Tim offered to give all of his expertise and experiences to other states so that they did not have to reinvent the wheel.
Through these and many other examples, Tim has demonstrated a heartfelt commitment to the legislative institution and NALIT. With each accomplishment, Tim has shown himself to be a true leader, always stepping out of the spotlight, giving credit to his staff. NALIT is happy to present the 2005 NALIT Staff Achievement Award to Tim Rice.
Washington State Electronic Bill Book Team
The 2005 NALIT Staff Achievement Award is presented to a team of individuals from the Washington State House of Representatives’ committee staff and legislative information technology staff, who developed an innovative project called the "Electronic Bill Book” or EBB. The EBB has revolutionized the way in which the Washington House of Representatives' standing committees conduct their public hearings. As the result of the EBB, the Washington House has reduced the labor-intensive work required to prepare pre-meeting informational packets and maintain paper bill books used in committee hearings. Committee members and staff are able to access to the "bill book" documents and display them during the hearing in an electronic format. In addition, the EBB has simplified the administration of complex committee hearings and has made it easier for committee members to navigate through the sometimes lengthy agendas. This important project is a great example of excellent team work between the committee and the information technology staff to provide a new and more efficient way of conducting committee business.
The project team members were:
Cara Shipley (retired)
Nate Naismith (retired)
Rick Johnson,Senior Software Engineer
Legislative Service, Washington
Rick Johnson started thinking about getting legislative documents in a non-proprietary format back in 1994. His foresight led to the development of tools that give bill drafters and policy analysts the flexibility and ease of a word processor while ensuring that the resulting files can be used for efficient processing later on. In 1998, he headed a team to design, construct and implement a non-proprietary based system for the production cycle of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC). This system resulted in more frequent updates of the WAC, reduced the time to publish the WAC from two months to three weeks, and provided for electronic proofing of the SGML Revised Code of Washington against WordPerfect versions to ensure that no changes were introduced during conversion.
Relying on lessons learned from the WAC project, Rick turned his attention to legislation and statutes. In 2001 his team put into effect a system for creating, processing and publishing bill reports (committee analyses). In 2003 the team delivered an XML-based system for bill drafting, bill creation, amendment, engrossing, enrolling, session law, codification and publishing tools, including all the typographical details the code reviser’s office required.
Rick has brought his experiences and evaluation of tools and commercial products to NALIT staff development meetings. He has participated as a speaker at several NALIT meetings, and serves on the NALIT Executive Committee and two NALIT committees.
Dave Larson, Director
Legislative Computer Services, Kansas
When Dave Larson began working at the Kansas Legislature 14 years ago, there were only two dedicated word processors and a slew of typewriters. Dave played a key role in helping policymakers understand the advantages of updated technology. Under Dave’s guidance, every division of the legislature now has state-of-the-art PCs, software, network services and training that allows use of this technology to its fullest potential. Employees of the Legislature have benefited from increased productivity and the standardization of systems. Despite increasing workloads, staff levels have remained constant, revealing the efficiency of technology.
During the past legislative session, Dave headed a cutting-edge project to create a paperless, live web broadcast committee. He designed the project, wrote the successful grant proposal and implementation plan, hired staff and carried out the project successfully.
Dave serves NCSL as a member of NALIT and ASLCS, and as staff vice chair of the NCSL Committee on Communications, Technology and Interstate Commerce. He has made presentations on a wide variety of topics at NCSL meetings, including topics such as strategic planning, networking, software selection, selecting consultants, security, technology policy, managing technology and emerging technologies. He has written numerous articles and white papers published by NCSL through NALIT and ASLCS, and has helped develop work products for the NCSL committees on which he serves.
Former director of Information Technology, Florida House of Representatives
The National Association of Legislative Information Technology commends Sean Johnson for extraordinary contributions to NALIT and the legislative process.
Sean has been an integral part of NALIT since 1998. He is sought out regularly for his expertise and advice about management and technical issues related to legislative information technology. He served on the NALIT Executive Committee as a director from 1998 through 2000, the Professional Development Seminar Planning Committee from 2000 through 2003, and the NALIT nominating committees in 1999 and 2000.
Sean has also contributed to NCSL’s Assembly on State Issues as staff chair of the Communications and Information Policy Committee in 1999. He was recognized by the Assembly on State Issues for his work in making streaming audio of committee sessions available via the NCSL Web site.
In addition, NALIT recognizes Sean's dedicated work, professionalism, and contributions to the Florida House of Representatives. He was instrumental in moving their legacy TextDBMS system, to a new system that allows the House to have an independent system, while still retaining the ability for the chambers to communicate.
Since leaving the Florida Legislature, Sean has maintained his relationship with NALIT as an associate member and by continuing to share his technical and management expertise with his colleagues in NALIT.
Manager, Information Systems, Legislative Counsel Bureau, Nevada
The National Association of Legislative Information Technology recognizes Allan Smith for professional accomplishment and service NALIT and the Nevada State Legislature.
Allan has served as a member of the NALIT Executive Committee since 2001. He hosted NALIT’s successful 2002 Professional Development Seminar and has served on the seminar planning committees each year since 2000. Allan helped plan and acted as moderator or panelist at numerous NALIT sessions.
Allan has devoted many years of service to the Nevada Legislature, and during his tenure has overseen the development of state-of-the-art systems for the legislature. One of his major accomplishments was to bring in-house all programming and staffing for a bill drafting and front desk system that had initially been developed by a contractor. His staff brought the system to successful completion and continues to refine and enhance the system. Allan also supervised improvements in the wireless system for legislators’ laptops in the capitol. He implemented programs to improve customer service for the legislators and legislative staff his department serves. Allan also serves on the state of Nevada’s Security Committee.
Allan is always willing to share his experiences and expertise, his sense of humor, and his time with his peers around the country.
Ann Mclaughlin, Director Legislative System
Office of the Controller General, Delaware
The National Association of Legislative Information Technology recognizes Ann McLaughlin for her professional accomplishments and contributions to the National Association of Legislative Information Technology (NALIT).
Ann has directed the Delaware Legislative Information System (LIS) since 1998. Under her leadership, Delaware’s LIS was elevated to a seamless, integrated system accommodating all the intricacies of the legislative process. In response to a need for a more efficient workflow as well as the need to progress with technology, Delaware began to seek a solution for its legislative systems. Ann launched an extensive study of the legislative process to determine the location of duplicate work and inefficiency. She oversaw the planning and implementation of a Lotus Notes solution for the legislature. The original plan was to create a database to house legislative information and another for document management. The databases enable a draft to be created and conform to the specific processes required by both the House and Senate. Other requirements included the preservation of the legislative process, as well as the absolute security required by this environment. In four years the LIS has grown to 26 production databases, some of which are available via the Internet and an LIS Intranet site.
Ann has shared this information and exchanged ideas with her colleagues at NCSL conferences and seminars. Ann has served as a moderator or speaker at numerous NALIT sessions and has contributed articles to the association newsletter. In addition, Ann served on the NALIT Executive Committee as a Director for the past two years and as a member of the 2002 NALIT Officer Nominating Committee.
Jim Swain, Chief Information Officer
Legislative Research Commission, Kentucky
The National Association of Legislative Information Technology honors Jim Swain for his contributions to the Kentucky Legislature and to NALIT and NCSL. Jim began working as a General Assembly employee for the Kentucky Clerk of the House of Representatives in 1978. After becoming a full time employee of the Information Technology section in 1981, Jim helped to develop bill drafting, business and legislative automation systems, network and computer platforms, and planning information technology strategies. Jim was instrumental in Kentucky’s move from a mainframe-based information system, to a mini-computer system, to the current distributed client server Internet/Intranet network supporting 650 users. In 1996, Jim was named Chief Information Officer for the Legislative Research Commission. Under his direction, the legislature automated the manual bill book process, converted in-house bill drafting and statute search systems, and implemented chamber automation. Jim has also served as staff to the Kentucky Information Technology Task Force and as Legislative Liaison to the Kentucky Geographic Information Advisory Council.
Jim served on the NALIT Executive Committee as a regional director from 1996 through 1998. He has continued to share his technical and management expertise with his colleagues in NALIT, as a speaker and moderator for NALIT sessions and by supporting strong involvement by his staff in NALIT and NCSL. He has shared programming code with other state legislatures and also served as a lead state in providing bill text and status information for the pilot project of NCSL’s National Bill Text and Status Project.
House of Delegates, Virginia
The National Association of Legislative Information Technology recognizes Sharon Crouch for dedicated service and contributions to the staff section, to NCSL, and to the legislative institution as a whole. Sharon has served in many capacities in NALIT, including as Chair. In October of 2000, Virginia hosted the annual NALIT Professional Development Seminar, and Sharon's efforts made the meeting a resounding success for all participants. She has also contributed to the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries, serving on various committees and participating on panels. In addition, she has served on the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee (LSCC) and as Chair of the Multistate Legislative Document Management Project. Sharon has also developed online surveys for NALIT and the LSCC.
Sharon was instrumental in the in-house development of Virginia's chamber automation system. She worked tirelessly with other staff to ensure that the system was on-line for a pilot project and full implementation. Her efforts made system user friendly and flexible for the needs of members in both bodies. Sharon is constantly striving to make the legislative process more efficient and effective through technology and to find common solutions in the field of technology that state legislatures can share.
Legislative Research Commission, Kentucky
The National Association of Legislative Information Technology recognizes Danny Jackson for expertise and professionalism in developing the Constituent Services computer tracking system for the Kentucky General Assembly. Danny's expert system has been instrumental in helping communicate, track, and provide services to thousands of Kentucky citizens and General Assembly members. He has also created several other systems used by the Kentucky House and Senate to help with the daily flow of bills and postings. In addition, he was instrumental in establishing the Kentucky Legislature's independent (of the executive branch) computer systems.
This award also recognizes Danny's service to NALIT and NCSL. He was one of the original members of NALIT and has served on the NALIT nominating committee. He also served as Staff Vice Chair of the Communications and Information Policy Committee of NCSL's Assembly on State Issues.
Sandy Scharf, Director
Legislative Computer Support Bureau, Iowa
The National Association of Legislative Information Technology recognizes Sandy Scharf for professional accomplishment and valuable service and contributions to the staff section and NCSL. Sandy served as Chair-Elect of NALIT in 1997 and as Chair in 1998, and has been an integral part of NALIT for many years. He has spoken at numerous NALIT and NCSL sessions, has provided constant support for the association over the years and is part of the institutional memory of the staff section. His sense of humor, straightforward approach, and leadership qualities have encouraged greater participation in the association.
Sandy has been director of the Iowa Legislative Computer Support Bureau for the past 16 years. He has over 30 years of experience in information technology. As director of the bureau, Sandy has managed the move from a mainframe-based information system to distributed client server/Internet/Intranet network. Under his leadership, Iowa has been in the forefront of states with chamber automation systems and public access to legislative information, including streaming audio coverage of floor sessions through the Iowa Legislature's website.
House Drafting Office, Florida
The National Association of Legislative Information Technology recognizes Jeffrey Blanchard for his contributions to the Multistate Legislative Document Management Project of the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee. The project, sponsored by the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee, was created to explore the feasibility of a multistate effort to develop a replacement for TextDBMS software. Florida's House Bill Drafting Office "loaned" Jeffrey Blanchard to work on the project. Jeffrey's work included collecting legislative documents from other states and working with project participants to develop model legislative documents and standards that can be used as a foundation for legislative document management systems.
Jeffrey has been with the Florida Legislature for over 15 years, the last 11 as a Legislative Analyst with the House Bill Drafting Office. Jeff is now one of the more senior editors of bill drafts, with expertise in transportation issues and regulated industries. Jeff's contributions have gone beyond his job description to include training new staff, assisting in the development of a WordPerfect-based bill drafting system that interfaces with TextDBMS, a bill tracking system, an Outlook-based bill draft request system, and work on legislature-wide technology projects such as selection of a new search engine.
Mark Allred, Research & Systems Analyst
Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel, Utah
The National Association of Legislative Information Technology recognizes Mark Allred for professional accomplishment and service to the staff section, NCSL and the Utah Legislature. Mark has been active as a NALIT member for many years. Mark served as chair of NALIT in 1996-97. Under Mark's tenure as Chair, the NALIT listserv gained subscribers from all 50 states and became an active forum for discussion and invaluable information exchange among NALIT members. Mark currently serves on the NALIT Executive Committee as past chair. He has spoken at many NALIT sessions and has represented NALIT on the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee. He recently became co-chair of the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee's Multistate Legislative Document Management Steering Committee.
Mark has served since 1983 as research and systems analyst for the Utah Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel. He supervises the Information Center, computer and bill entry staffs and directs information systems for the Legislature. Mark received an MPA degree from Brigham Young University, a B.S. degree from Utah State University, and has done doctoral work at the University of Southern California.
Nebraska Legislative Technology Center
Office of the Clerk of the Legislature
The National Association of Legislative Information Technology recognizes the Nebraska Legislative Technology Center for professionalism, commitment and exemplary service to the Nebraska Legislature, the staff section and NCSL. The Legislative Technology Center--a division of the Clerk of the Legislature's Office since 1997--has led significant advancements in legislative technology and improved service to the public.
Nebraska was one of the first states to provide gavel-to-gavel legislative coverage through the Internet. The Legislature's website also provides access to all bills, amendments, daily journals, calendars, committee reports and other legislative documents. Technology Center staff in the past year and a half also converted the legislative chamber automation system to a Windows platform, ensured faster and more dependable access to users, deployed new computers in all senators' offices and in five divisions, and upgraded software for many applications.
Staff are respected as experts in networking, geographic information systems, application development, chamber automation and technology training. Several staff members have been panelists at NCSL and NALIT meetings on various technology topics. The Technology Center also hosted a number of video-streamed sessions from the December 1998 and April 1999 NCSL Assembly on State Issues meetings, which allowed them to be displayed through NCSL's web site.
William E. Behnk, Coordinator
Legislative Information Systems, California
NALIT recognizes Bill Behnk for professional accomplishment and service to NALIT, NCSL, and the California Legislature. Bill has been an integral part of the NALIT staff section for many years. He frequently serves as presenter for NALIT sessions and has helped to coordinate presentations by other legislative staff in California. Bill represents NALIT on the NCSL Executive Committee and the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee. He also has been active in the Communications and Information Policy Committee, serving as staff chair for 1994-95. Bill is enthusiastic about information technology issues and is always willing to share his expertise with others. He has hosted and served as a consultant to a number of state legislatures interested in legislative information technology. He also provided information systems consulting services to the Federal Congress of Peru, the U.S. State Department and the Parliament of Uganda. Bill Behnk has served as the Coordinator of Legislative Information Systems for the California Legislature for the past 15 years. In that capacity, he serves as the liaison between the leadership, Members and staff of the Legislature and the Legislative Data Center. Bill previously spent 17 years with the Office of the Legislative Analyst where he was chief advisor to the Legislature in all matters pertaining to the use of computers and systems development within the Executive Branch.
Jim Greenwalt, Director
Senate Information Systems & Administrative Services, Minnesota
NALIT recognizes Jim Greenwalt for professional accomplishment and service to NALIT, NCSL, and the Minnesota Senate. Jim has been active in NCSL as a member of NALIT since 1987 and as associate member of the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries from 1974 to 1986. He served as editor of the NALIT Newsletter in 1993-94, NALIT vice-chair in 1994-95, chair of NALIT for 1995-96. He has worked to raise the profile of NALIT as a staff group at NCSL and encouraged greater involvement and communication among NALIT members. Jim also has done an outstanding job of keeping the focus of NCSL and the LSCC on information technology issues. He served as chair of the NCSL Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee’s Information Technology Task Force from 1996-97 and continues to serve on that task force in 1998. Jim was the driving force behind NALIT’s first professional development seminar in 1997. Jim not only offered to serve as host for the first seminar, he also worked tirelessly on all aspects of the seminar – from developing the program, to raising funds for special events, to promoting the meeting among all NALIT members. He continues to contribute as co-chair of the NALIT Professional Development Seminar Planning committee for 1998. Jim also provided information systems consulting services to the Brazilian State Legislative Assembly. Jim is Director of Senate Information Systems and Administrative Services and has been an employee of the Minnesota Senate for the past 25 years.
Missouri House Automation Development Team
NALIT recognizes the Missouri House Automation Development Team for professional achievements and exemplary service to the Missouri House of Representatives. When the House Automation Committee asked for recommendations on developing a chamber system, George Hagedorn, Information Technology Director, recommended the system be developed in-house, and the House information technology staff was given the opportunity to develop the system. This past session all 163 Members had laptops on their desk. They had access to the full bill text, typed amendments, floor amendments (scanned on the floor), and fiscal notes on each bill as it was being considered. The bill or amendment text came up automatically with the fiscal note just one click away.
The system gave members access to House and Senate calendars, journals, and other bill information, such as history, summaries, and hearings. The system has basic inquiry functions, allowing searches by keyword, sponsor, and by action. Members have access to the House rules, motions (how to), the statutes and the constitution. When the electronic voting board started acting up, House information technology staff quickly developed a voting system on the laptops. The laptop voting system was used for several hours this past session when the voting board system locked up.
The system was written by House information technology staff using Visual Basic 4.0. No outside programming resources were used. The ability to view bill text and typed amendments were made possible via the WordPerfect/Corel Software Developer's Kit for use with Visual Basic.
NALIT recognizes Herman E. Pearson for professional accomplishment, and service to NALIT, NCSL, and the Wisconsin Legislature. Herman graduated with a B.S. degree in mathematics from Tougaloo College. His professional experience includes computer programming, system analysis, coordination and drafting requests for proposals, acquisition of equipment and software. His supervisory responsibilities consist of personnel hiring, training, managing a support staff of sixteen individuals, coordination of support and services to legislative offices and service agencies. Prior to 1980, he worked in several Executive Branch agencies where he received several awards for his outstanding performance as a management information specialist.
Herman has served in a number of positions in NCSL: as a member of the NCSL Executive Committee, an officer of NALIT from 1992 to 1996, the newsletter editor for the Computer Applications Staff Section (CASS, the predecessor to NALIT), chair and vice-chair of the Information Technology Task Force, and staff chair of the Communications and Information Policy Committee. In 1993 he was part of a United States Information Agency exchange between U.S. and Central American Clerks and Secretaries. Herman served as a technology adviser for the project.
While this list is impressive and indicates Herman's willingness to serve and professional standing, this sterile inventory cannot touch his warm personality, his genuine interest in the needs of others, and his readiness to step in and help. It can be as public as pinch hitting in a meeting or writing an article for the newsletter. It may be as private as a conversation on the phone or in a corner after an meeting, to advise a staffer from another state. His enthusiasm for, and interest in, his work is contagious. OK, maybe his picture isn't next to the definition of an exemplary staffer in the dictionary. Just wait for the next edition.