2011 RACSS Legislative Summit Agenda and Handouts

RACSS Programs and Handouts
2011 NCSL Legislative Summit

August 8-11, 2011
San Antonio, Texas

PDF Agenda 

Monday, August 8 | Tuesday, August 9 | Wednesday, August 10 | Thursday, August 11 


Monday, August 8, 2011

8:00 am-5:00 pm


7:45 am-2:45 pm

Pre-Conference Seminars:

Personal Staff Training (7:45 am-2:45 pm)
Legislative personal and district office staff will receive specialized training in a series of interactive sessions. A special fee is available for those who will attend only this training.

Energy Policy Summit (8:00 am-2:45 pm)
This preconference seminar will take a look at the most pressing energy policy issues.

1:00 pm-2:45 pm


RACSS Session: Using Census Data for Legislative Research
The newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau provides a treasure trove of information for legislative research staff. Data can be used for statewide research, as well as for demographic data right down to the district level. Learn about the information available from the Census Bureau and get advice on ways to maximize your research skills.

Moderator:  Mark Mitchell, Legislative Research Commission, Kentucky
Speaker: James Whitehorne, U.S. Census Bureau

► PowerPoint: American Fact Finder

► PowerPoint: FTP Files

3:30 pm-5:00 pm

NCSL Standing Committees
Legislative staff are welcome to attend all sessions of the Standing Committees.

  • Agriculture and Energy
  • Budgets and Revenue
  • Communications, Financial Services and Interstate Commerce
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Health
  • Human Services and Welfare
  • Labor and Economic Development
  • Law and Criminal Justice
  • Legislative Effectiveness
  • Redistricting and Elections
  • Transportation 


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

7:00 am-5:30 pm


7:45 am-8:45 am

Orientation for New Attendees
If you are attending your first NCSL Legislative Summit, take part in this interactive orientation and learn how to navigate your way through the nation’s most substantive public policy meeting. Veterans of the meeting will share their insights on how to participate in committees, staff sections, networks and other key components of the meeting.

7:45 am-8:45 am

Orientation for New Staff Section Officers
New officers of NCSL staff sections, or those who expect to take a leadership role in the future, are welcome to learn more about the responsibilities and duties of being an officer. 

7:45 am-8:45 am

Prayer Breakfast
Join your colleagues at the annual Prayer Breakfast for food, fellowship and inspiration.

9:00 am-10:30 am

General Session: Jim Collins - From Good to Great
This year, Jim Collins, author of the mega-hit “Good to Great” and expert on how great businesses—led by great leaders—endure, grow and maintain top performance, will guide us in making the leap from good to great. Collins’ work has been featured in Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Harvard Business Review, and Fast Company. Description

10:45 am-12:00 pm

NCSL Standing Committees
Legislative staff are welcome to attend all sessions of the Standing Committees. See above for a list of committees.

12:00 pm-1:30 pm

Standing Committee Luncheon Programs

1:30 pm-5:00 pm

NCSL Standing Committees

3:30 pm-5:00 pm

Legislative Staff University: Ethics and the Box Office
Legislators and staff often confront ethical dilemmas that may not be about right or wrong, but which among several core values is most appropriate. Do they serve constituents or the state, individual members or the larger institution? See these choices play out in movie clips for an entertaining glimpse into how we make decisions in the workplace.

Speaker: Allan Wallis, professor, University of Colorado

5:15 pm-6:15 pm

Young Professionals
If you’re 35-years-old or younger or new to your state legislative position, join colleagues from across the country to share experiences and exchange ideas, business cards, Twitter feeds and more. This entertaining event will get you introduced to several new contacts that will help you during the Legislative Summit and your job.

6:00 pm-8:00 pm

Opening Social Event: An Evening In Old San Antonio!
Delight in the flavors, vibrant colors, sounds and tastes that make San Antonio unique. The historic downtown village of La Villita will be transformed into an authentic Mexican fiesta representing the diverse customs of the city. From brightly colored piñata poles, mariachi music and the delicious menu, you will salsa your way through the heritage-themed plaza and streets.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

7:00 am-5:00 pm


6:30 am-8:00 am

Walk for Wellness
Walk or run through historic HemisFair in San Antonio on this sixth annual 5K dedicated to raising awareness of the devastating effects of chronic diseases.

7:00 am-8:30 am

Breakfast on the Grotto

8:30 am-9:45 am

General Session: Gov. Rick Perry - Fed Up! Our Fight To Save America From Washington
Texas Governor Rick Perry is “Fed Up” with Washington regulations, mandates and intrusion into state decisions. He’s written the book, Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America From Washington. Perry is the longest serving governor in Texas history, and is outspoken in his belief that states should have the freedom to determine their own policies in everything from taxes to health care to guns and prayer.

10:00 am-11:30 am

Issue Forums

  • Health Care: A New Approach to Savings and Quality
  • State Immigration Laws and the Courts: Testing the Constitution
  • New American Portrait
  • Creating Jobs By Rolling Back State Regulations
  • Getting the Most for Your Money: Investment Strategies that Work
  • State Pensions: The Financial and Legal Framework 


11:30 am-1:30 pm

Exhibit Hall Luncheon
NCSL invites delegates into the exhibit hall to enjoy a special lunch sponsored by Diesel Technology Forum.

1:00 pm-3:45 pm

Legislative Staff Workshops
Targeted professional development training will be available during this time for state legislative staff. Programs are being planned by the LSCC for all NCSL staff sections and networks.

1:00 pm-2:15 pm

Issue Forums

  • The U.S. Economy: When Will It Return to “Normal?” 
  • Building Skills and Creating Jobs
  • Addressing Hunger in America
  • Is Technology Transforming Government?
  • Pain at the Pump: The Implications of Reducing U.S. Reliance on Oil
  • State Pensions: States Respond to Challenges
  • States Opting Out or Diving In: Health Reform Challenges, Waivers and Alternatives.
  • K-12 Education: Are States Getting What They Pay for?
  • Majority Rule and Minority Rights: Inside the Wisconsin and Indiana Legislative Walkouts 


2:30 pm-3:45 pm

Issue Forums

  • Growing Green: Fertilizing Job Growth and Local Economies
  • States Transforming Medicaid--2011 and Beyond
  • The Critical Link between Higher Education and the Economy
  • The Special Case of Teachers’ Pensions
  • Crisis Leadership
  • Global Perspectives on the Legislative Institution
  • Creating The States’ Agenda: What Do You Want to Tell the Federal Government?


4:00 pm-5:30 pm


RACSS Session: When Serving the Legislature Means Serving Constituents
Joint with the Personal Staff Network
Thousands of citizens turn to their legislators when they encounter problems with government or businesses. Consequently, many legislative staff agencies and personal staff are called on to help constituents on behalf of those legislators. Several states have established constituent services programs to help citizens and maximize limited staff resources. Learn about the challenges and best practices in providing constituent services.

Moderator:  Mark Mitchell, Legislative Research Commission, Kentucky
Panelists: Maryanne Jefferson, Chief of Staff to Senator Richard Ross, Massachusetts ► PowerPoint
Sabrina Lewellen, Constituent Services and Special Projects Manager, Senate, Arkansas ► PowerPoint
Pepper Sturm, Chief Deputy Research Director, Nevada ► PowerPoint

5:00 pm-6:30 pm

2012 Illinois Reception
Our legislative colleagues from the great state of Illinois will host the kick-off reception for the 2012 Legislative Summit in Chicago.

6:00 pm-8:00 pm

Private After-Hours Tour of the Alamo
Join the Texas Host Committee in a private after-hours tour of the Alamo, the birthplace of the world-renowned battle cry “Remember the Alamo”, as Texas celebrates the 175th anniversary of the Texas Revolution and the storied battle at this shrine of liberty.

6:00 pm

States Night
State delegations gather for their private receptions. Contact individual states for more information.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

8:00 am-2:00 pm


6:30 am-8:00 am

Bipartisan Bike Ride
Ride along the beautiful San Antonio River and the historic Mission Trail for the seventh annual bipartisan bike ride. Pre-registration is required.

8:00 am-9:15 am

Issue Forums:

  • The Changing Face of State Government
  • Charter Schools and Vouchers
  • Health Insurance Reform – The State Response
  • Maximizing State Economic Growth
  • What Americans Think Now


9:30 am-10:30 am

General Session: Politics, Policy and Polls: What Americans Think Today
Pollsters Peter Hart and Neil Newhouse know better than anyone what's on the minds of Americans. This Republican and Democratic duo reveal the people's pulse on the economy, what's happening in Washington and who's likely to win in the next elections.

10:45 am-12:30 pm

NCSL Business Meeting
Attend the business meeting to vote on policy positions that guide NCSL’s advocacy efforts before Congress and the administration.

12:30 pm-2:00 pm


RACSS Business Meeting and Luncheon
RACSS members will hold their annual Business Meeting, elect officers, present the Legislative Staff Achievement Award and plan activities for the coming year.  Luncheon sponsored by LexisNexis.

Presiding: Pepper Sturm, 2010-2011 RACSS Chair

► Business Meeting Agenda

2:30 pm-3:45 pm

Making History: Working for America’s Legislatures
Just as strong states make a strong nation, strong legislative staffs make strong legislatures. Come celebrate the contributions staff make to their legislatures and to NCSL.

4:00 pm-5:30 pm


RACSS Session: Moving Beyond PowerPoint Fatigue
Joint with the Legislative Research Librarians and the Legislative Information and Communications Staff Section
We’ve all sat through presentations that were sabotaged by the accompanying PowerPoint slides: sometimes boring, sometimes distracting, but all too often, just ineffective. This session will look at techniques for improving PowerPoint presentations and explore other options to present information effectively.

Moderator: Walker Reagan, Director, Research Division, North Carolina
Speaker: Mark Leutwyler, Dell, Texas ► PowerPoint

6:00 pm-9:30 pm

Closing Social Event: Texas Dancehall Revue
Grab your cowboy hat and get ready for a boot scootin' good time. The dancehall is a central part of Texas heritage, and we will honor its legacy by creating one of the biggest dancehalls you’ll ever see. The evening will be a true Texas experience with authentic chuck wagon barbeque and a star studded cast of Texas performers.




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