The NCSL Blog


By Megan McClure

Join with fellow research, editorial, library, legal and committee staffers from across the nation for an invaluable professional development opportunity Oct. 4-6 in Harrisburg, Pa.

Pennysylvania Capitol rotundaThe PDS features a wide variety of sessions and trainings, most of which are specifically designed with your legislative role in mind, punctuated with plenary sessions covering skills and information meant to develop all legislative staff’s professional integrity and skills.

Most of the sessions will take place inside the beautiful, historic Pennsylvania Capitol building including plenary sessions in the House chamber.

Sessions cover topics such as legislative litigation, historical methods in legislative research, ethics and civility, presentation skills, a Supreme Court update, capitol and library/museum tours and much, much more.

Come, network and learn from others in similar positions in other states while beefing up your professional skills. CLE credit is available for those who are interested. The housing deadline is approaching fast. For more information visit the PDS registration page for details and a full agenda. This meeting will also be included in the new NCSL Events App.

Here’s what previous attendees of RELACS and LRL professional development seminars have to say about these valuable learning opportunities:

“For those of us in the legislative field, there are very few meaningful training opportunities that positively impact our day-to-day work. Fortunately, we have the Professional Development Seminar. The PDS provides great training opportunities on cutting edge issues and access to a wonderful network of other legislative professionals. The PDS can’t be missed!”

Fred Messerer, principal deputy legislative counsel, California

"The annual PDS always offers a great variety learning opportunities for attendees—from thought provoking presentations to skills-based training sessions to tours of local libraries and historical sites. Even more, it’s a fantastic chance to meet and share ideas with colleagues across the country. Don’t miss it!"

Julia Covington, reference librarian, North Carolina

"There is no greater professional value than what comes from being in the same room with people who also edit or proofread proposed legislation. The type of editing we do is specialized and not easily translatable for other types of editing. The legislative editors who participate in the annual PDS meetings speak the same highly technical language, strive for the same level of quality control and learn from each other."

Wendy Jackson, administrative services manager, Legislative Reference Bureau, Wisconsin

“Spending several days comparing notes with and learning from colleagues who understand and value the role of legislative staff is what I love about the professional development seminars. I’ve left each of the three seminars I’ve attended feeling re-energized about my work and exited to return home with new ideas and knowledge to share.”

Rachel Weiss, legislative research analyst, Montana Legislative Services Division

“The Research Librarians annual professional development seminar (PDS) provides a valuable opportunity to share information and socialize with our peers from around the country within a thoughtfully structured framework of seminars and speakers. In just a few days we become better at our jobs and strengthen key relationships. A win-win!”

Betsy Haugen, reference services manager, Minnesota

“Attending RELACS PDS conferences in the past has helped me hone the skills necessary to be a more proficient bill drafter, a more detailed researcher and better provide legal information to my legislators as well as constituents. The exchange of ideas and ways other states perform similar tasks has been valuable in helping me and my agency to reconsider our own processes and procedures. Finally, it is truly a pleasure to get to know other legislative staffers from across the country, as our profession is the very definition of niche (as an adjective).”

Erica Warren, committee staff administrator, Legislative Research Commission, Kentucky

"The sessions are interesting and useful, but the highlight is meeting my colleagues. I always learn so much from them and am constantly amazed at how different each legislative agency and its work can be. I never fail to come away with new ideas I want to implement or new ways to tackle an issue we've been struggling with."

Teresa Wilt, legislative librarian, Nevada

"I’ve attend the RELACS PDS almost every year since 2013 because it offers great programs that are directly relevant to me as a legislative attorney and helps me better understand the issues legislative staff face in other states and the methods and resources they use to address these issues. I always leave the PDS feeling that I have been armed with great ideas on how to tackle the issues that I will face in the coming legislative session and, when faced with new issues, great friends in other states and at NCSL to reach out to for help."

Marl J. Cutrona, deputy director, Division of Research, Delaware

"Last year, I attended my first LRL PDS where I met and interacted with other legislative librarians and expert presenters from around the country. This resulted in me acquiring valuable information and insight, gaining an understanding of what other librarians and libraries were talking about and planning for, and how they were accomplishing certain goals or tackling specific issues that were similar to my own. For these reasons, I am excited to be attending the PDS again this year!"

Eric Glover, legislative librarian, Research and Legislative Division, Idaho

Megan McClure is a senior staff assistant in NCSL's Legislative Staff Services Program.

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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.