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To fulfill Mr. Mason's request, NCSL determined it would follow Mr. Mason's tradition of updating and reprinting the book approximately every 10 years. NCSL asked the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries (ASLCS) for assistance, and the Mason's Manual Commission was created to oversee the revisions of Mason's Manual.
The original Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure was authored by Paul Mason in 1935, and Mr. Mason subsequently updated it six times. Prior to his death in 1985, Mr. Mason assigned the copyright of Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). He requested that the Manual continue to be updated and published.
The Commission, Its Membership and Its Responsibilities
The organization and duties of the Mason’s Manual Commission have been established by the ASLCS Executive Committee, and these are outlined in ASLCS Standing Orders Section XIII.
Per the ASLCS Standing Order, the Mason’s Manual Commission consists of 16 members. The members of the Commission are appointed by the ASLCS President. The ASLCS President makes appointments to the Commission when (1) a new Commission is created or (2) there is a vacancy on an existing Commission. The commissioners are veteran legislative staff, who have working experience with legislative parliamentary procedure, are familiar with Mason’s Manual and are committed to producing an exemplary edition of the book. The Commission chair and vice chair are elected by the commissioners.
The main responsibilities of the Mason's Manual Commission are to:
- Promote the proper application of the rules of procedure in the legislative process.
- Preserve the integrity and historic perspective of the legislative manual developed by Paul Mason.
- Periodically review Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure.
- Serve as a resource in American legislative parliamentary procedure.
To date, various Mason's Manual Commissions have assisted NCSL with Manual revisions and other reviews: