The NCSL Blog


By Allison Hiltz

How states can incorporate evidence-based policymaking into their decision-making process was the focus of a recent meeting of state legisators and agency, executive and legislative staff convened in Santa Fe by NCSL and the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Meeting participants Each state involved—Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico and Rhode Island—was hand-picked for its commitment to evidence-based policymaking.

The meeting, NCSL-Pew Results First Exemplar States Discussion, was highly interactive and blended presentations with breakout sessions tailored to the needs of attendees. Results First is a project of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. It works with states to implement an innovative cost-benefit analysis approach that helps them invest in policies and programs that are proven to work. The initiative currently works with 24 states at various stages of the process. This meeting brought together teams from states with a strong commitment to evidence-based policymaking to discuss their progress.

First-day discussions centered around the successes and challenges states face, including engaging stakeholders and how to work with legislators. Legislators in attendance offered their perspectives on how staff members can customize their presentations to ensure their voices are heard, but more important, understood.

The second day focused predominantly on implementation, including available funding sources, such as federal funding and/or grants, and what is needed to ensure successful implementation. Andrew Feldman, a visiting fellow from The Brookings Institute, and Stephanie Bradley, from EPISCenter, both presented on ways to embed evidence into the policymaking process and the resources available to help make it happen.

This successful meeting was part of an ongoing effort by NCSL and the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative to bring together state legislators and agency, executive, and legislative staff to continuously move forward in promoting and adopting evidence-based policymaking practices. To learn more about the initiative, visit here.

The June issue of State Legislatures magazine features a story on evidence-based policymaking.

Allison Hiltz is a policy associate in the Strategic Initiatives program at NCSL.

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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.