2017 Legislative Staff Achievement Awards

7/24/2017

The NCSL Legislative Staff Sections and Networks annually present Legislative Staff Achievement awards to recognize staff excellence in supporting the work of a state legislature and strengthening the legislative institution. Each staff section and network may make two awards, and each decides the criteria for its awards. The staff co-chairs of the NCSL Standing Committees also may name two award recipients. Examples of accomplishments recognized by the Legislative Staff Achievement awards include, but are not limited to:

  • Helping to improve the effectiveness of the legislative institution.
  • Supporting the legislative process and the mission of the legislature.
  • Exhibiting a high degree of professionalism, competence and integrity in serving the legislature and the public.
  • Contributing to the work of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  • Demonstrating expertise in a particular field.
  • Contributing to existing knowledge.

2017 Recipients

American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries (ASLCS)

Maryann Horch, senior systems analyst, Senate of Virginia

Steven T. James, clerk, Massachusetts House of Representatives

Leadership Staff Section (LSS)

Tom Krause, chief of staff, Senate Majority Leader Bill Cowsert

Legislative Education Staff Network (LESN)

Todd Butterworth, senior research analyst, Nevada Legislative Council Bureau

Legislative Information and Communications Staff Section (LINCS)

K’Lynn Sloan Harris, audio/video coordinator, Montana Legislative Services Division

Legislative Research Librarians Staff Section (LRL)

Jennifer Bernier, co-head librarian, Legislative Library of the Connecticut General Assembly

Elizabeth Lincoln, director, Minnesota Legislative Reference Library

National Association of Legislative Fiscal Offices (NALFO)

Christopher Woods, budget director, Office of the Speaker, California Assembly

National Association of Legislative Information Technology (NALIT)

The Team of Jonathan Palmore and Hobie Lehman, Senate of Virginia

South Carolina Legislative Services Agency Committee Technology Team

(Scott Gage, Bruce Ellsworth, Kevin Coats, Anthony Amaker, Michael Stroupe)

National Legislative Program Evaluation Society (NLPES)

California State Auditor’s Office, 2017 NLPES Excellence in Evaluation Award

National Legislative Security and Services Association (NLSSA)

Colonel Anthony (Steve) Pike, chief, Commonwealth of Virginia, Division of Capitol Police
Lenore Adams, facilities coordinator, Montana Legislative Services Division

Research, Editorial, Legal and Committee Staff (RELACS)

Lori Christiansen, director of the division of research, Delaware General Assembly

Andrew Hedges, senior staff attorney, Indiana Legislative Services Agency Indiana

Standing Committees

Stephanie Barrett, associate fiscal officer, Vermont Legislative Joint Fiscal Office

Ken Levine, director, Texas Sunset Commission

American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries (ASLCS)

Maryann Horch, senior systems analyst, Senate of Virginia

Maryann Horch portrait

The American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries recognizes Maryann Horch for her outstanding contributions to the Senate of Virginia and her distinguished service to ASLCS and NCSL.

Horch, a senior systems analyst, has been with the Senate of Virginia for more than 10 years working to integrate technology into the legislative process. In the most recent session she helped to develop a new electronic committee voting system that will both expedite the process of recording committee votes and save the chamber the expense of an additional position. Her work has greatly enhanced the legislative process while also respecting it.

Horch has been an extremely active member of ASLCS. A valuable member and chair of ASLCS standing committees and special committees, she has served on ASLCS and NCSL meeting panels – and is the Society’s unofficial photographer. She has also devoted her time and talents to the ASCLS Executive Committee, serving in the highest position possible for Associate members, as Associate Vice-President. She has contributed greatly to the Senate of Virginia, NCSL, and ASLCS and has the respect of her colleagues from both her state and across the country – all of whom cherish her collaborative spirit, technological expertise, and wonderful sense of humor.

Horch is being honored with this award for her professionalism, commitment to duty, love of the legislative process, and dedication to the legislative institution. ASLCS is proud to honor her with the 2017 Legislative Staff Achievement Award.

Steven T. James, clerk, Massachusetts House of Representatives

Steven James portraitThe American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries recognizes Steven James for his outstanding contributions to the Massachusetts House of Representatives and his distinguished service to ASLCS and NCSL.

James started out as a page in the Massachusetts House and served in several positions in the clerk’s office before being elected as clerk himself in 1999. During his tenure, he has demonstrated the highest degree of professionalism and worked diligently to increase efficiencies in the legislature. His service to ASLCS is unparalleled. His many contributions include service on the executive committee and as vice chair and chair of several committees, including International Communication and Development and Canadian-American Relations. He has worked to enhance international relations by attending conferences with CATTS and ANOMAC, and by creating a CD entitled “Twenty-Five Years of Friendship” in commemoration of ASLCS’s association with CATTS. He has also been a contributor to ASLCS publications, and, most notably, has been the Society’s archivist for the past 12 years. As archivist, he maintains all the records and history of ASLCS – and enjoys the respect and appreciation of his peers for these efforts.

James is being honored with this award for his professionalism, commitment to duty, love of the legislative process, and dedication to the legislative institution. In recognition of his invaluable contributions to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, NCSL, and our Society, ASLCS is proud to honor him with the 2017 Legislative Staff Achievement Award. 

Leadership Staff Section (LSS)

Tom Krause, chief of staff, Senate Majority Leader Bill Cowsert

Tom Krause portraitTom Krause has served as the chief of staff to the Georgia Senate Majority Leader since 2015. In this position, he says, he is in a consistent state of learning and is proud to work alongside a smart and diverse group of people who share the singular goal of making Georgia better. This is a second-career for Krause, who previously worked for 15 years as a newspaper reporter. He covered politics in Georgia at the Macon Telegraph and covered crime in Florida at the Tampa Tribune.

In 2010, he began assisting on political campaigns, eventually running a few. He says he has worked on “some of the best losing campaigns in Georgia.” He has also worked for the Georgia Senate Press Office and the Georgia Department of Labor.

Krause has worked with NCSL since 2015, serving as the 2nd Vice-Chair of the Legislative Staff Section Executive Committee. In 2016, he served as the chairman of the Program Development Committee.

Krause holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology, from Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Miami. He lives in Atlanta with his wife, Rachel, and their three daughters.

Legislative Education Staff Network (LESN)

Todd Butterworth, senior research analyst, Nevada Legislative Council Bureau

Todd Butterworth portraitTodd Butterworth began his career with the State of Nevada in 1992.  He served as the executive director of the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities and managed a variety of disability programs and services.  In 2003, he was appointed the first bureau chief of the State’s new Office of Disability Services, and served in that capacity until 2012 when he joined the Nevada Legislative Counsel Bureau as a senior research analyst.

With the Nevada Legislature, Butterworth has staffed the Senate Committee on Education and the interim Legislative Committee on Education, and has assisted legislators in issues related to weighted student funding, early literacy, school choice, and others.  He has served as the staff co-chair of the Education Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and in a similar role for the Legislative Education Staff Network.  He also joined a national group with five other staff and 25 legislators in a multi-year study, sponsored by NCSL, of high-performing international education systems.

Butterworth earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Arizona State University and an MBA from the University of Nevada.  In 2012, he was recognized as the University of Nevada’s “Outstanding Graduate School Alumnus”.

He has served as the president of CARE Chest of Sierra Nevada, the local chapter of Toastmasters International, and the Board of Trustees of the First Presbyterian Church, where he has also been the “house” drummer since 1996.  He was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship by Rotary International for service to the community, and the Bill Kahl Humanitarian Award for his support of people with disabilities.

Outside of work, Butterworth is married to Kellie, a 4th generation Nevadan and dental hygienist.  

Legislative Information and Communications Staff Section (LINCS)

K’Lynn Sloan Harris, audio/video coordinator, Montana Legislative Services Division

K'Lynn Sloan Harris portrait K’Lynn Sloan Harris serves as the audio video coordinator for the Montana Legislative Services Division, overseeing the broadcasting and live streaming program, proudly making all legislative proceedings available to the public. She has been with the Montana Legislature since 2010, was a member of NALIT, and joined LINCS in 2012. A journalism and political science graduate of the University of Montana, Sloan Harris was previously an election reporter for MTV, news director at 89.9 FM KBGA, worked for the United States Senate, and completed a White House internship. She also serves on the state board of directors in Montana for Kiwanis International.

Sloan Harris was nominated for this award because of her hard work and dedication not only to the Montana Legislature, but to government transparency. She is unfailingly positive in her outlook and demeanor, and is a source of fresh ideas and energy to her Legislature and LINCS. She is a determined advocate for legislative staff and relishes her role in bringing legislative staff communicators together to enhance their job skills and their role in improving the transparency, efficiency and professionalism of state legislatures. 

Legislative Research Librarians Staff Section (LRL)

Jennifer Bernier, co-head librarian, Legislative Library of the Connecticut General Assembly

Jennifer Bernier portraitJennifer Bernier has served for many years as librarian with the Legislative Library of the Connecticut General Assembly, rising to co-head librarian.  Her many duties include providing research and reference assistance to members of the Connecticut legislative community, tracking appointments and mandated reports, providing instruction on legislative research and subject research, and training and mentoring new staff.  As a leading member of the Connecticut Legislative Library team, she has made an invaluable contribution to the smooth operation of the library and to the legislative process.

Bernier has been an active member of the LRL staff section for many years.  She served as a Regional Director from 1993-2001 and again from 2005-2009.  She was elected Secretary in 2013, and subsequently served as vice-chair, chair, and immediate past chair.  Bernier has given her time and talents freely to help promote legislative research libraries, working tirelessly to increase communication among members and to promote professional development opportunities.  Her energy and enthusiasm have helped raise the profile of legislative librarians within NCSL and encouraged more active involvement within the LRL.  

Elizabeth Lincoln, director, Minnesota Legislative Reference Library

Elizabeth Lincoln portraitElizabeth Lincoln has provided outstanding support to the Minnesota Legislature in the Legislative Reference Library for 24 years in progressively responsible roles: she was hired in 1989, then became senior librarian, head of reference, deputy director (in 2000), and acting director before being named director in 2013.  In these roles, she has made information available to legislators, staff members and citizens in a variety of traditional and innovative ways.  These include responding to information requests using print and online resources, helping to develop, organize and manage the legislative web site; and creating or contributing to databases of historical legislative information (including member biographical information, Legislative Time Capsules, and mandated reports). In her role as director, she oversees a large and outstanding nonpartisan library staff with expertise in state policy issues, the history of legislation, and the historical activities of the Legislature.  Among her strengths is the ability to manage and deliver traditional content in technologically creative ways. She is a humble and much-loved manager.

Lincoln has also been a major contributor to the work and spirit of LRL and NCSL as a whole and is truly someone who signs up for the hard jobs. She was LRL Chair in 2009-10 (after her secretary and vice chair stints) during which time she was also active on the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee.  She’s been chair of the demanding Notable Documents Committee since 2013 (having served on the committee since 2005) and is LRL Central Northern regional director.  She was a member of the Elections Committee for the Bylaws rewrite in 2013.

Lincoln has been generous and tireless in service to the staff section.  Her contributions include a number of LRL/NCSL programs over the years, such as co-creating the 2010 “Creating Legislative Member Databases” webinar (now posted on the NCSL site) and presenting on the development of the Minnesota web page.   In addition, her Library hosted the 2009 LRL Professional Development Seminar and the LRL portion of NCSL’s 2014 Summit.  The Legislative Reference Library blogged both conferences with participation and guidance from Lincoln. These blogs were a great gift to those of us unable to attend the programs in person.

National Association of Legislative Fiscal Offices (NALFO)

Christopher Woods, budget director, Office of the Speaker, California Assembly

Christopher Woods portraitThe National Association of Legislative Fiscal Offices (NALFO) recognizes Christopher Woods for his outstanding contributions to the California General Assembly. Woods has been a leader in California fiscal policy for almost twenty years, serving for nine years as the California Assembly’s principle financial staff expert and previously serving as the chief consultant of the Assembly Budget Committee.

Throughout his career, Woods has made substantial contributions to the policy of the State of California. Some of Woods’ accomplishments include his creation of the state’s new Rainy Day Fund, which captures volatile capital gains revenues as a funding source for an emergency reserve, the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit and the Middle-Class Scholarship program, which targets state support to reduce costs for tens of thousands of low and middle-income Californians. Woods has also been instrumental behind the scenes in almost every major policy initiative in California over the last decade.

Woods is known as a champion of staff development and diversity in the workplace. He diligently recruits, mentors and works to retain staff from all backgrounds, facilitating the fiscal staff in the Assembly to reflect the diversity of California. Woods is also legendary for his innovative policy ideas, his passionate support of programs that serve low income families, and his firm negotiation style. He has provided continuity and stability for eight Assembly Speakers and ten Assembly Budget Chairs during his tenure, and has made substantial contributions to the California Assembly over the course of his career.  

National Association of Legislative Information Technology (NALIT)

The Team of Jonathan Palmore and Hobie Lehman, Senate of Virginia

Palmore and Lehman portraitThe National Association of Legislative Information Technology recognizes the team of Jonathan Palmore and Hobie Lehman, Senate, Virginia, for developing an electronic committee voting system for the Senate of Virginia. The system has created tremendous efficiencies and helps improve the flow of the legislative process. The new system allows one person to clerk and manage committee meetings instead of several. Information is captured electronically, and votes and bills are reviewed quickly, then released to the system. Information is then pulled to the web and into the calendar. The system reduced hours of work after a committee meeting to just minutes. It eliminates vote corrections in committees, provides public transparency immediately with the displayed votes, and dramatically cuts down the time spent on voting. In addition, the votes are uploaded to the Legislative Information System without having to be manually input.

Most notably, the new system incorporates many of the complex nuances of the Senate’s rules, including proxies. When a Senator needs to leave a committee meeting to present their bill to another committee, they can now submit a proxy electronically. The Committee Clerk no longer needs to manually keep track of "who left who" their proxy. Proxy management is now done electronically. The new system was built in-house so modifications and enhancements can be done on the fly. It has enhanced the process for staff, the public and members while still providing a flexible system for members of the Senate.

Palmore is Senior Assistant Clerk for Technology and Lehman is Assistant Clerk–Committee Operations/Sergeant-At-Arms. Palmore and Lehman have served in the legislature for over a decade each. They have spoken at NALIT and NCSL meetings and are members of NALIT and ASLCS. They respect the legislative process and yet see new and innovative ways to use technology to benefit the process without changing it. 

NALIT is pleased to recognize the team’s accomplishments, their commitment to the legislative process and their involvement in and contributions to NCSL and NALIT.

South Carolina Legislative Services Agency Committee Technology Team

(Scott Gage, Bruce Ellsworth, Kevin Coats, Anthony Amaker, Michael Stroupe)

Group photo of South Carolina Legislative Services CommitteeThe National Association of Legislative Information Technology recognizes the South Carolina Legislative Services Agency (LSA) Committee Technology Team for its creative approach that streamlines committee meetings and reduces reliance on paper-based processes. Team members are Scott Gage, Bruce Ellsworth, Kevin Coats, Anthony Amaker, and Michael Stroupe.

The team created a dashboard that allows staff of the House Ways & Means Committee to add and remove documents from the agenda, to distribute content to committee members, publish items to the public-facing website and take digital meeting notes.

Committee members have Microsoft Surface tablets (set in ‘kiosk’ mode), allowing members to follow along with agenda items in real-time and to read and review documents within agenda view or in full-screen view. As documents are digitally introduced to the committee, they also are instantly published to the www.scstatehouse.gov website, empowering the public to evaluate committee documents in real-time while watching a live-stream of the meeting.

To develop the system, the LSA team met regularly with the Ways & Means Chairman and staff to evaluate product development and to identify functional priorities and goals. The LSA leveraged free and open source software to reduce costs and mitigate ongoing support fees. Overall, the system has provided a streamlined approach to meetings that has saved time and improved committee transparency. The team members also are active in NALIT as attendees and presenters at NALIT meetings and by sharing information with colleagues in other states, including via the NALIT listserv.

NALIT congratulates the team for their success and contributions. 

National Legislative Program Evaluation Society (NLPES)

California State Auditor’s Office, 2017 NLPES Excellence in Evaluation Award

California State Auditor's Office

The California State Auditor’s Office is the recipient of the 2017 NLPES Excellence in Evaluation Award. The SAO is California’s independent and nonpartisan auditing and investigating arm, and the office has served the state for more than 60 years. Its work has touched nearly every aspect of California government. During just the last four years, the SAO completed more than 150 performance evaluations and made nearly 1,800 recommendations in audit reports and investigations. Its recommendations resulted in meaningful changes to government operations and millions of dollars in savings. The SAO also makes valuable contributions to the field of program evaluation through its participation in NLPES, other national audit organizations and public outreach.

Congratulations to the California State Auditor’s Office!

 

National Legislative Security and Services Association (NLSSA)

Colonel Anthony (Steve) Pike, chief, Commonwealth of Virginia, Division of Capitol Police

Steve Pike portriatColonel Anthony S. Pike was appointed as chief of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Division of Capitol Police, in Richmond on October 10, 2011. As chief, he is responsible for the Division’s sworn and support personnel serving the Capitol community of the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of Virginia’s government, its employees and visitors. The Division's historical roots originate at the first permanent English settlement in Jamestown, Virginia. In 1618, the Guard, consisting of 10 men was formed to protect the Governor from the hostile Indian population.

Prior to his appointment, he served as the assistant chief for the Division of Capitol Police. Colonel Pike, a native of Wythe County Virginia, began his law enforcement career in 1988. Colonel Pike served in the United States Army and was selected as the Honor Graduate after attending the Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course.

Colonel Pike is a graduate of the 227th session of the FBI National Academy, the 64th session of the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Develop Seminar, Northwestern University for Public Safety Executive Management Program, and the Commonwealth Management Institute.

Colonel Pike also serves as one of twelve commissioners with the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission. The Executive board members consisting of active Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police establish professional standards and administer the accreditation process by which Virginia agencies can be systematically measured, evaluated, and updated.

Lenore Adams, facilities coordinator, Montana Legislative Services Division

Lenore Adams portraitIn recognition of her invaluable contributions to the Montana State Legislature, NLSSA is proud to honor Lenore Adams with the 2017 Legislative Staff Achievement Award. Adams is the facilities coordinator in the Montana State Legislature. Her responsibilities include safety, security, continuity planning, space and facility issues, phones, office equipment, and any purchases over $5,000 for the Legislative Branch which encompasses the Audit, Fiscal, and Services Divisions and the House and Senate.  

Adams works with and assists the two Sergeants at Arms while helping to train their aides and assistant Sergeants at Arms at the beginning of each session. She is also the liaison for Helena Police Department in the Capitol Building, and works with Sgt. Corey Livesay and the other officers who provide security for the Legislature and the Capitol Complex.

Each session, Adams provides training to the incoming legislative committee chairs on their Emergency Action Plans and evacuation procedures.  With Adams, things run smoothly, safely, and efficiently and Legislators are fully equipped to do their jobs.  

Research, Editorial, Legal and Committee Staff (RELACS)

Lori Christiansen, director of the division of research, Delaware General Assembly

Lori Christiansen portriatThe Research, Editorial, Legal and Committee Staff association selects Lori Christiansen to receive the 2017 Legislative Staff Achievement Award for her work ethic in her duties for the Delaware General Assembly, as well as her commitment to NCSL and her support of legislative staff.

Christiansen is the director of the Division of Research and has worked for the General Assembly for 22 years. She spent seventeen years with the Controller General’s Office, where she served as a senior policy and fiscal analyst specializing in health policy and the State’s grant-in-aid process. During the last 5 years, she has served as director of the Delaware Division of Research. Her focus for the division was to improve the quality of legislative drafting by directing a rewrite of the Legislative Drafting Manual, creating drafting training sessions to ensure accurate, clear, and uniform legislation, and striving to provide high quality, nonpartisan research and legal services to all members of the General Assembly.

Christensen has encouraged staff involvement with NCSL through attendance at the Legislative Summit and the Research, Editorial, Legal and Committee Staff professional development seminar and by participation on RELACS committees. She has been a member of the NCSL Legislative Effectiveness Committee since 2013. She was asked by Raúl Burciaga to serve on the NCSL Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee.

Andrew Hedges, senior staff attorney, Indiana Legislative Services Agency Indiana

Andrew Hedges portraitThe Research, Editorial, Legal and Committee Staff association selects Andrew Hedges to receive the 2017 Legislative Staff Achievement Award for his dedication to the Indiana Legislature and the Legislative Services Agency.

Hedges joined the Office of Bill Drafting and Research at the Indiana Legislative Services Agency in 2000. He has worked primarily in the courts, civil law, and criminal law subject matter, and has been one of a handful of attorneys who staff three standing committees. Hedges is always available to listen to and advise his colleagues. He is also a critically important mentor to the newer attorneys working in his subject matter areas.

Hedges was reassigned from the Senate Committee on Civil Law to the Senate Committee on Public Policy for the 2017 legislative session. His rapport with the members of the Senate, intellectual agility, and work ethic equip him to handle the varied subject matters of the bills assigned to the committee. He had an important role in the preparation of a legislative response to an alcoholic beverage licensing issue so novel and unexpected that it prompted public comment from both the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate when the issue came to light mid-session.

His work in 2017 has included: electronic cigarettes and vaping, the medicinal use of cannabis oil, abortion, riverboat gambling, firearms, alcoholic beverage licensing, immigration, and the selection of superior court judges in Indianapolis/Marion County in the aftermath of a federal court ruling that the current system was unconstitutional. This list is remarkable both for its length and for the breadth of issues covered.

Even when he is not the primary drafter of the legislation, Hedges provides wise counsel to his colleagues and the members of the General Assembly. Hedges’ presence at several high-profile meetings was crucial as he has the trust of the members of the General Assembly and a well-earned reputation as a problem solver.

NCSL Standing Committees

Stephanie Barrett, associate fiscal officer, Vermont Legislative Joint Fiscal Office

Stephanie Barrett portraitStephanie Barrett is an associate fiscal office at the Vermont nonpartisan Legislative Joint Fiscal Office which conducts fiscal analysis and research and drafts the annual budget bill. She joined the JFO in 1997 as a fiscal analyst after experience in the private sector in real estate and transportation consulting. Her primary focus in on the budget overall and General Government, Medicaid, Human Service and Criminal Justice related issues in particular.  

Barrett has been active with NCSL since 2001, attending numerous Summits, Forums and issue-specific meetings. She has been president of the NALFO staff section, a staff chair of the Budget and Revenue Committee, and a member of the Deficit Reduction Task Force. She first joined the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee in 2010 and became an at-large member of the Executive Committee in 2015 serving on numerous panels. She completed NCSL's Legislative Staff Management Institute at in 2012.  She received a B.A. in economics from Boston College and M.B.A. from the University of Vermont.

Ken Levine, director, Texas Sunset Commission

Ken LevineKen Levine is the director of the Texas Sunset Commission.  Before being appointed to this position in October of 2009, he had served as deputy director of the Commission since 1995.  He has worked for the Sunset Commission and the Texas Legislature in various roles since 1981 and has performed or supervised policy evaluation projects in almost every functional area of state government.  Levine recently completed five years of service on the NCSL Executive Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures, including two years as staff co-chair of the standing committees.  He is also a past chair of the National Legislative Program Evaluation Society (NLPES). Levine has a BA in Government from the University of Texas at Austin and a Masters in Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. Levine speaks regularly on Sunset reviews, performance and policy evaluations and legislative oversight at numerous state, national and international meetings.

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