The NCSL Standing Committees develop the official policy directives and resolutions that determine NCSL positions on the wide range of federal actions that affect the states and to guide NCSL's lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C. Committee members explore issues that states have to deal with, but committees do not recommend policy to the legislatures on issues that are internal to the states. NCSL's Washington staff lobby the Congress, the White House and federal agencies for the benefit of state legislatures in accord with the policies recommended by the standing committees and adopted at the NCSL Annual Business Meeting. For information on these policies and NCSL's lobbying activities, see each standing committees' portal page. The policies are available on the web pages for each committee and under the "Policy Positions" heading above.
Most proposed policy directives and resolutions originate in one or more of the standing committees and must be approved at either at a Forum business meeting and the annual business meeting to become the official position of NCSL. Committees are expected to follow appropriate committee procedure as dictated by the Permanent Rules of Procedure. NCSL rules specify Mason’s Manual of Parliamentary Procedure as the back-up on matters of parliamentary procedure. Once approved by a full committee, policy directives and resolutions are considered by the Steering Committee, which performs the function played by rules or calendar committees in some legislatures. After a policy resolution passes through the Steering Committee, it moves to the full business meeting.