The NCSL Blog


By Holly South

NCSL’s Legislative Staff Week wrapped up last Friday after a week of celebrating the staff who keep our state legislatures running smoothly.

Indiana staffers enjoy their Indoor Picnic during their Staff Week celebration.In addition to highlighting staff members on the NCSL Blog and in State Legislatures magazine, NCSL hosted a webinar and podcast geared specifically toward legislative staff, and a Legislative Staff Shoutout Competition.

Legislators and staff from 38 states and territories submitted nearly 200 shoutouts to individual staff members and teams across the country. NCSL Staff Chair Jon Heining drew the names of two staff members who will receive an Amazon Echo Dot: Jennifer Hays of Kentucky and Liz Conroy of Connecticut.

Conroy is also a member of the winning state: Staffers in Connecticut received 31 shoutouts, the most of any state, and will receive a special prize this summer. Several other states—Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Texas and Kentucky—kept the competition close, but Connecticut pulled it out on the last day.

Jen Carlton, deputy chief of staff for operations of the Indiana Senate, said the competition was “a wonderful opportunity to make state recognition even more meaningful by showcasing the comments on the NCSL website. It was also a great way to thank others from different states in a public forum.”

The very last tribute submitted during the week was from Martha Wigton, director of the House Budget and Research Office in Georgia, and NCSL’s staff vice chair: “A last and loud shoutout to the staff from all of our states, territories and NCSL! Cheers to providing great public service, quality information, and the heartfelt dedication it takes to always get the job done!”

Among the celebrations held in honor of Legislative Staff Week, the Indiana Senate expanded its traditional end-of-session celebration for staff into a full week, featuring events such as a doughnut breakfast, Hoosier pride jeans day and an indoor picnic.

Indiana staffers gather for the ‘State Employees Years of Service Day' – their color of choice indicates how long they’ve served.“The Indiana Senate has an incredible staff of professionals who are dedicated to public service. These folks work particularly hard during the legislative session, helping Hoosiers and supporting their legislators. It’s important for them to feel positively recognized for their effort by supervisors and coworkers. Employees who feel appreciated are generally more satisfied in their workplace and may be more productive, knowing that their efforts are viewed as valuable contributions,”  Carlton said.

Though they weren’t technically released during Legislative Staff Week, we think two publications offered excellent bookends to the week:

  • The Denver Post, which advised that “Insiders who haven’t thanked a member of the staff—partisan and nonpartisan—that really keeps the General Assembly moving forward, should be sure to do so during the final hours. They worked like never before to meet the needs of lawmakers and were often caught in nasty partisan fights. A special shout-out goes to Andrew Carpenter, the [Colorado] Senate’s bill reader, who likely has some very sore vocal cords after the last 118 days.”
  • And the Texas Tribune’s video, “Supporting Roles,” which highlights the critical role of legislative staff at the Texas Capitol, is a great way to cap off our week spotlighting staff.

Give yourselves a pat on the back. You’ve earned it!

NCSL serves legislative staff all year-round—not just during Legislative Staff Week. Learn how and get involved!

Holly South is a policy specialist and the NCSL liaison to the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries (ASLCS). ASLCS is one of nine professional staff associations 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.