The NCSL Blog


By Brenda Erickson

NCSL appreciates how much legislative staff are vital to the work of every state legislature, and we are using this week to shine the spotlight on the staff and their contributions.

Legislative librarians at the Montana Capitol.We will share stories, highlight resources from staff professional organizations, look back down memory lane, and tell you how to stay involved with YOUR organization, NCSL

So, keep an eye on the NCSL Blog and NCSL’s social media feeds, download the staff-focused episode of our podcast, “Our American States,” and, above all, let us know what NCSL can do for you.

Celebrating Legislative Staff

The first legislative staff in American state legislatures—or to be more precise, what would become the American state legislatures—was a clerk who was loaned from the British House of Commons to the Virginia House of Burgess in 1619.

Over the ensuing centuries since that single clerk—as legislatures assumed more power and responsibility, and their work became more complex—legislative staff numbers and services expanded.

As the saying goes, you’ve come a long way, baby! At last count, you are more than 31,000 strong.

The services staff provide today are varied:

  • Bill drafting
  • Budget and revenue analysis
  • Committee support
  • Constituent services
  • Governmental oversight
  • Human resource services
  • Information technology support
  • Legal advice
  • Legislative facilities/space management
  • Media and communications support
  • Parliamentary administration
  • Partisan or nonpartisan research
  • Safety and security

No matter the area in which you work, your goals are the same—to support your state legislators and make your chamber or your legislature the best that it can be!

NCSL and its staff associations were formed to aid legislative staff in their work. And they’ve been serving you for decades.

These groups are here to provide training and facilitate the exchange of ideas among legislative staff. Don’t hesitate to call upon them for assistance.

This week, take a moment to reflect on where you’ve been and what’s coming in the future. Celebrate the important work that you do!

Brenda Erickson is a program principal in NCSL's Legislative Staff Services Program. It provides strategic, programmatic and administrative support to the staff professional organizations of NCSL and develops training and information programs for the nation's more than 30,000 legislative staff. She also staffs the National Legislative Program Evaluation Society.

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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.