State-Federal Relations and Standing Committees
NCSL is nationally recognized as a formidable lobbying force in Washington, D.C. Year-in and year-out, the organization effectively works to enhance the role of states and state legislatures in the federal system. We oppose unfunded federal mandates and preemption of state authority, and seek to provide state legislatures the flexibility they need to innovate and be responsive to the unique needs of the residents of each state.
These state-federal activities are guided by NCSL's 10 standing committees. These committees develop the official policy directives and resolutions that determine our positions on the wide range of federal actions that affect the states. In addition, they are fertile venues for sharing ideas about policy and legislative management innovations in state legislatures. The committees, whose jurisdictions are similar to those of committees in state legislatures, are made up of legislators and legislative staff from the 50 states and the territories. Their work is guided by legislator and legislative staff officers, who are named each year by the NCSL President, President-elect and Staff Chair.
The committees meet three times each year--at Fall Forum, the Spring Forum and the annual NCSL Legislative Summit. The meetings feature speakers from Congress and federal agencies, as well as experts on state issues. Each meeting also includes debate on the state-federal policy directives and resolutions developed by the committees.
The committees have support from NCSL staff in the Washington and Denver offices. The staff produce various documents related to both state and federal matters, including, research and analysis on federal and state issues, action and information alerts, legislative summaries, side-by-side charts, 50-state surveys and committee e-mail list serves. The state-federal work is highlighted each week in Capitol to Capitol, which is e-mailed and faxed to legislative leaders, committee members and others.
Executive Committee Task Forces
NCSL uses task forces to complement the work of the 10 standing committees. NCSL's Executive Committee Task Forces typically deal with issues that cut across the jurisdictions of the standing committees and are created for a specified period of time. They range in size between 20 and 30 legislators and legislative staff. Task forces have been very effective at developing positions on highly complex and controversial issues. Members of task forces are appointed by the NCSL president, President-elect and staff chair and have Republican and Democrat legislator co-chairs. Policy directives and resolutions on state-federal issues that are developed by task forces must be approved through the regular NCSL policy process before becoming official.