2012 RACSS Seminar Agenda

RACSS 2012 Professional Development Seminar – "The Super PDS"

October 1012, 2012
Madison, Wisconsin 

Participating Staff Sections
Leadership Staff Section LSS
Legal Services Staff Section LSSS
Legislative Information and Communications Staff Section LINCS
National Association of Legislative Information Technology NALIT
National Legislative Services and Security Association NLSSA
Research and Committee Staff Section RACSS

RACSS and five other NCSL staff sections are meeting in Madison for a "Super PDS."  Programs listed as joint will have
all six staff sections participating.  Sessions listed as co-sponsored will have two or more of the groups as sponsors. 
The remaining sessions are sponsored by RACSS.

RACSS Preliminary Agenda

as of Oct. 3, 2012

Note: Sessions will be held at the Concourse Hotel, Wisconsin State Capitol, and the Masonic Center.  Breaks are provided to facilitate walking between locations.

Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012

7:00 am–5:00 pm


7:45 am–8:15 am

Joint Plenary Breakfast Buffet and Welcome
Welcome: Steve Miller, Chief, Legislative Reference Bureau, Wisconsin

8:15–10:00 am

Joint Plenary Breakfast: Decoding Body Language
NCSL gratefully acknowledges the support of our breakfast sponsor, NCTA.

Learn to read body language during this interactive, cutting-edge, keynote program.  Janine Driver is a former ATF agent, the New York Times best selling author of "You Say More Than You Think" and president of the Body Language Institute. 

Moderator: Rob Stoddard, Senior Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs, National Cable and Telecommunications Assocation (NCTA)
Speaker: Janine Driver, President, Body Language Institute, Washington, D.C.

10:00–10:15 am


10:15–11:15 am

Elections and Voter ID  (CLE)


Voter ID has been the hottest topic in the world of elections for the past two years. It is highly partisan and often relies on emotions rather than evidence. This session will feature legislative staff from states that have recently tackled the issue of voter ID, all from different perspectives. Topics will include the general principles that can be drawn from often conflicting court opinions, suggestions on how to evaluate arguments and evidence from a wide array of sources, and stories of voter ID from drafting to the legislative process to implementation and, sometimes, court challenge.

Moderator: Michael Gallagher, Legislative Attorney, Legislative Reference Bureau, Wisconsin
Speakers: Jennie Drage Bowser, Senior Fellow, NCSL
John Fellows, General Counsel, Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel, Utah
Jessica Karls-Ruplinger, Senior Staff Attorney, Legislative Council, Wisconsin

11:15 am–12:15 pm

A View From the Bench: Discussion With A Supreme Court Justice 


David T. Prosser Jr., a justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, will discuss his perspective on the legislature and the legislative process as a judge and his perspective on the judiciary as a former Speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly.

Moderator: Nancy Cyr, Director, Legislative Research Office, Nebraska
Speaker: Justice David T. Prosser, Jr., Wisconsin Supreme Court

12:15–12:45 pm

LSSS & RACSS Joint Luncheon

12:45–1:45 pm

U.S. Supreme Court Update: Looking Forward and Looking Back  (CLE)


What are the implications for federalism of the U.S. Supreme Court’s most recent term now that the dust is settling? What important cases from the last term did you miss because they were overshadowed by the Affordable Care Act cases and Arizona immigration case? What cases has the Court accepted so far in the October 2012 term that affect state legislatures?

Moderator: Jerry Jones, Chief Legislative Counsel, Senate, Louisiana
Speaker: Lisa Soronen, Executive Director, State and Local Legal Center

1:45–3:00 pm

Best Practices for Writing Bill Analyses


A well written bill analysis is a great benefit to lawmakers and the public, particularly if it also frames the bill within the context of current law.  Making sure bill analyses are accurate and updated to reflect amendments are an important part of the process. Learn how other states produce bill analyses.

Moderator: Sabrina Lewellen, Constituency Services/Research & Special Projects Manager, Senate, Arkansas; RACSS Vice-chair RACSS Vice-chair

Panelists: Trina Griffin, Staff Attorney, Research Division, North Carolina
Fern Knepp, Legislative Attorney, Legislative Reference Bureau, Wisconsin
Sharon Wenger, Principal Analyst, Legislative Research Department, Kansas

3:00–3:15 pm


3:15–4:15 pm

Lessons Learned from Large Events at Capitols: Safety, Citizens and 1st Amendment Rights

Planning for large events keeps the legislature running smoothly, prepares the staff and protects the rights of citizens. Several states have learned from dealing with demonstrations, serving as movie sets, welcoming high-profile visitors and accommodating other major events. Learn how to provide citizens access, control crowds and avoid negative publicity.

Moderator: Bryant Howe, Deputy Director, Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel, Utah

Panelists: Bladen Finch, Senate Page Program Director, Senate Clerk's Office, Virginia
Joseph T. Kreye, Legislative Attorney, Legislative Reference Bureau, Wisconsin
Jay Pearson, Information & Communications Services Director, House of Delegates, Virginia
Kristen Roman, Lieutenant, Madison Police Department
Ken Scheer, Captain, Texas Department of Public Safety

4:15–4:30 pm


4:30–5:45 pm

Publishing Statutes and Legislative Publications in the Electronic Age


Delaware has developed downloadable statutes designed to be compatible with electronic reading devices. A few states are formatting statutes for the small screen of a handheld device. Learn about the latest developments in mobile resources for legislative and legal documents.

Panelists: Jeffrey Hague, Registrar of Regulations, Legislative Council, Delaware
Bruce Hoesly, Revising Attorney, Legislative Reference Bureau, Wisconsin

6:30–7:30 pm

Joint Reception and Tours at the Wisconsin State Capitol

Join your legislative colleagues from all six staff sections for an informal reception and guided tours of the beautiful and unique Wisconsin State Capitol.

Master of Ceremonies: Steve Miller, Chief, Legislative Reference Bureau, Wisconsin
Welcome: Honorable Fred A. Risser, President of the Senate, and Honorable Robin Vos, House of Representatives

Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012

7:00 am–5:00 pm

Registration/Information Desk

7:45–8:15 am

Joint Plenary Breakfast Buffet
Welcome and Opening Remarks: Patsy Spaw, NCSL Staff Chair 2012-2013; Secretary of the Senate, Texas

8:15–9:30 am

Joint Plenary Breakfast: Are You Hyper-Connected?

Being connected to the web, mobile technologies and social media have made many of us feel over or hyper-connected. Could being hyper-connected actually benefit younger generations? Lee Rainie with the Pew Center on the States will review the latest data that shows how constant contact among younger generations allows them to be nimble, quick-acting multi-taskers who count on the Internet as their external brain and approach problems in a different way from older generations. But could this also lead to a generation that looks for quick fixes, has a loss of patience and eliminates deep-thinking skills?

Moderator: Peter Capriglione, Business Applications Manager, General Assembly, North Carolina
Speaker: Lee Rainie, director of Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, Pew Center on the States, Washington, D.C.

9:30–9:45 am


9:45–11:00 am

On the High Wire: The Editorial Balancing Act 


Balancing the needs of various editorial “customers”—the legislature, a committee, an individual legislator, a supervisor, and, ultimately, the residents of the state—is a challenge even for experienced editors. The needs are not always the same, and it may not always be feasible to meet all of them equally and stay on deadline and on budget. Anita Samen, managing editor of the University of Chicago Press and part of the team behind The Chicago Manual of Style, will discuss the challenges of balancing competing editing tasks and priorities, maintaining editorial standards (one’s own and those of the organization) in less-than-ideal circumstances, and serving the needs of various editorial “customers” while remaining focused, productive, and effective. This will be an interactive, workshop-like session, and attendees are invited to share insights, war stories, and survival tips.

Moderator: Wendy Jackson, Senior Legislative Editor, Legislative Reference Bureau, Wisconsin
Speaker: Anita Samen, Managing Editor, University of Chicago Press

11:00 am–12:00 pm

Confidentiality of Drafting and Legislative Records (CLE)


Across the country, activities relating to open records and the Freedom of Information Act have grown. In this session, Rob Marchant will do a soup-to-nuts overview of Attorney General of Wisconsin v. Zien, et al. This case involved a public records request for a senator’s records relating to an un-introduced bill. Rob will discuss how the lawsuit came about, all the factors that came into deciding to fight it, and what arguments ultimately prevailed.

Moderator: Joseph T. Kreye, Legislative Attorney, Legislative Reference Bureau, Wisconsin
Robert J. Marchant, Deputy Secretary, Employee Trust Funds, Wisconsin

12:00–12:15 pm


12:15–12:45 pm

Joint Plenary Luncheon and Awards Presentation 

NCSL gratefully acknowleges the support of our luncheon sponsor, LexisNexis.

LINCS and LSS will present their 2012 Legislative Staff Achievement Awards.  Honorees from all staff sections will be recognized, including those whose awards were presented at the Legislative Summit.

LSS Awards Presentation: Sallie Bolton, LSS Chair and Administrative Assistant, Office of the Speaker, Kentucky House of Representatives
LINCS Awards presentation: Bladen Finch, LINCS Vice Chair and Senate Page Program Director, Senate Clerk's Office, Virginia

12:45–1:45 pm

Negotiation and Compromise in the Legislative Arena


Negotiation has always been a primary instrument in the legislative process, where skillful policymakers meet determined advocacy with principled compromise. Yet recent trends of hyper-partisanship may be eroding the vitality of negotiation and compromise as a discipline of democracy. How can legislative staff ensure its survival? What techniques and perspectives can help you negotiate more favorable and lasting outcomes? This session will provide you with practical skills and lend insight into your own negotiation strengths and weaknesses.

Welcome: Patsy Spaw, Secretary of the Senate, Texas, NCSL Staff Chair 2012-2013
Moderator: Sallie Bolton, Office of the Speaker, Kentucky; Chair, LSS
Speaker: Professor Ralph Cagle, University of Wisconsin Law School

1:45-2:00 pm


2:00–3:15 pm

Solving Drafting Problems


This session will address selected problems often encountered by drafters, including severability, the passive voice, and how to deal with long and detailed series.  It will feature hands-on drafting and participatory exercises.

Moderator: Katherine McBride, Assistant Revisor of Statutes, Office of the Revisor of Statutes, Kansas
Speaker: Becky Lennahan, Consultant and Former Deputy Director of the Colorado Office of Legislative Legal Services

3:15–3:30 pm


3:30–5:00 pm

Strategic Planning for Legislative Agencies

Budget cuts, baby boomer retirements, and less interest in public service careers have combined to create unique challenges for legislative agencies.  Getting ahead of the curve is key to making sure quality support services will be provided in a era of tight budgets and staff turnover.  This interactive session will include presentations on the challenges and opportunities and discussions on how to create a strategic plan for your legislative agency.

Facilitator: Karl Kurtz, Director, Trust for Representative Democracy, NCSL
Speaker: Brian Weberg, Director, Legislative Management, NCSL
Panelists: Terry Anderson, Director, Wisconsin Legislative Council
Dave Bohyer, Director, Office of Research and Policy Analysis, Legislative Services Division, Montana
Walker Reagan, Director, Research Division, North Carolina General Assembly; RACSS Chair

5:00–7:00 pm

Exhibitors Reception
All RACSS members are invited to attend the NALIT Exhibitors Reception, where you can enjoy light hors d'oeuvres and learn about the newest technology supporting state legislatures.

6:30–7:30 pm

RACSS Dutch Treat Networking Dinners
Gather with your colleagues from other states for an evening meal and great conversation about legislatures.  See the sign-up sheets at the Registration/Information Desk. RACSS officers will serve as hosts for these informal "Dutch Treat" dinners.  (Dutch Treat means each person pays for their own meal and drinks.) 

Friday, Oct. 12, 2012

8:00 am–12:30 pm

Registration/Information Desk

8:15–9:45 am

Electronic Bill Drafting and Tracking Systems
NCSL gratefully acknowledges the support of our breakfast sponsor, Thomson Reuters.

Several states have recently upgraded their bill drafting systems. Hear from IT professionals and bill drafters in several states about the tools used and the processes involved in system design and implementation.

Moderator: Walker Reagan, Director, Research Division, North Carolina General Assembly; RACSS Chair
Speakers: Edward Bell, Interim Chief Information Officer, Legislature, Massachusetts
Doug DeMuth, Software Development Manager,  Legislative Technology Services Bureau, Wisconsin
Michael Duchek, Legislative Attorney, Legislative Reference Bureau, Wisconsin
Mendora Servin, Information Technology Specialist, Legislative Counsel Bureau, California
Armin Yazdi, Attorney, Legislative Counsel Bureau, California

10:00–11:15 am

Legal Writing (CLE)


Did you know there is no word for dragon in the Somali language?  One legislative drafter shares what he has learned about how to turn a policy idea into a good draft. Toby Dorsey, author of the Legislative Drafter’s Deskbook: A Practical Guide will share his insights on drafting law.

Moderator: Margaret (Peggy) Piety, Staff Attorney, Legislative Services Agency, Indiana
Speaker: Tobias Dorsey, Special Counsel, United States Sentencing Commission

11:15 am–12:15 pm

Thinking Skills for Legislative Staff


This session will explore how skilled thinking improves analysis, writing, and team meetings. Thinking and intelligence differ. Using car racing to illustrate, thinking is like driver skill while intelligence is like engine horsepower. Drivers win races. Similarly, the ability to argue a point and to criticize an opposite point of view, while valuable, often impedes thinking. In this workshop, participants will learn to recognize poor thinking, use parallel thinking, and learn techniques to evaluate and generate good ideas.

Moderator: Terry Anderson, Director, Legislative Council, Wisconsin
Speaker: John Turcotte, Director, Program Evaluation Division, North Carolina

12:15 pm

Seminar Concludes


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