The NCSL Blog

09

By Mark Wolf

More than 150 state legislators participated in 164 scheduled meetings with their congressional delegations Wednesday during Lobby Day as part of the NCSL Capitol Forum.

NCSL representatives met with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. From left, Senator Pamela Althoff, NCSL Manager of State Federal Relations Max Behlke, NCSL President Senator Curt Bramble, NCSL Vice President Senator Susan Peters, House Speaker Paul Ryan, President-Elect Mike Gronstal, Wisconsin Representative Robin Vos, Indiana Senator David Long and Neal Osten, director of NCSL's Washington office.Lawmakers sat down with U.S. senators and representatives to discuss issues crucial to state agendas.

While the state lawmakers explored issues specific to their states, three major themes of the day were the overhaul of the K-12 education bill passed Wednesday and scheduled to be signed by President Obama on Thursday, the recently passed federal transportation bill, and the issue of taxing Internet sales.

“NCSL’s decision to have these types of lobbying days for state elected legislators has born all kinds of very positive fruit,” saidHawaii Senators Ron Kouchi and Brian Taniguchi discussing issues with U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono.South Dakota Senator Deb Peters (R), NCSL’s vice president. “We have the ability to meet with leaders of the caucuses and putting the two (state and federal lawmakers) together is critical and NCSL has been able to make that happen.”

NCSL’s national officers met with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Whip John Cronyn (R-Texas).

“Does Chairman Ryan agree with where we want to go (on e-fairness)? Not exactly," Peters said. "Do we agree on how he wants to get there? Not exactly. But he heard us, he listens to us, he gets where we’re coming from. We talked to Senator Reid and he said making laws is like making sausage and that’s what it is. It’s not pretty but you hope it’s going to be good in the end.”

 ”It’s remarkable for a sitting speaker to give us this kind of consideration," Peters added. "Speaker Ryan knows the issue, understands the issue, knows how important it is to us but to also allocate that kind of time, it’s good and it’s all because of NCSL.”

Texas Representative Dan Flynn met with U.S. Senator John Cornyn. A group of four Mississippi legislators—equally split between Democrats and Republicans—met with Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker (R). With Congress in the midst of a stalemate on a spending bill, Wicker noted that “you (the state lawmakers) have deadlines and deadlines are a good thing.”

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi met with NCSL President-Elect Senator Mike Gronstal and President Senator Curt Bramble.Of the just-passed education bill, the senator said, “I think it’s good to send federal power back to the states.”

NCSL President-elect Senator Mike Gronstal (D) of Iowa said the Lobby Day was “generally positive. We met with (Representative) David Young (R). He listened, didn’t commit to things.

“I think it’s always great for NCSL to come to Washington and send people up to talk about the challenges facing states as we intersect with federal issues. We usually started by thanking all the people sincerely for working on a long-term transportation bill and for giving us more flexibility relative to the education reauthorization bill.”

North Dakota lawmakers meet with U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp.

Mississippi lawmakers (from left, front) Senator Briggs Hobson, U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, Speaker Pro Tem Greg Snowden, (back) Senator David Blount and Senator Bill Stone

 

 

 

Mark Wolf is editor of the NCSL Blog.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.