Section 3 | Policy Directive and Resolution Process

Most proposed policy directives and resolutions originate in one or more of the standing committees and must be approved at the Legislative Forum business meeting and the annual business meeting to become the official position of NCSL. The following primer is drawn from the NCSL Permanent Rules of Procedure. The primer also relies on customs and recommendations made by Executive Committees and the steering committees over the years.

A. Normal Method

The NCSL by-laws provide both normal and extraordinary methods for developing policy directives and resolutions. Under the normal method, policy directives and resolutions begin in a standing committee. Often, the policy directive or resolution is developed after the committee has conducted programs about the issues involved. On major initiatives, the committee may spend the entire year on programs and discussions, finally considering a policy directive or resolution at NCSL's Legislative Summit in the summer. Policy directives and resolutions may be introduced by any state legislator at any time during the conference year and are referred to the appropriate standing committee by the co-chairs of the Standing Committees.

Once approved by a standing committee, the policy directive or resolution is considered at Legislative Forum business meeting. All legislators who are registered for the forums vote at the business meeting. If the business meeting approves the policy directive or resolution, then NCSL is able to lobby that position with Congress and the administration on an interim basis. The policy directive or resolution becomes official NCSL policy when it is adopted at the Annual Business Meeting in July or August.

B. Emergency Method

Under emergency circumstances, policy directives or resolutions may be developed either by the legislator members of the NCSL Executive Committee or by conference telephone call involving the four legislator officers of NCSL, the legislator co-chairs of the Standing Committees and the co-chairs of the appropriate standing committees. These emergency methods have been used infrequently during NCSL's 37-year history.