The NCSL Blog


By Mick Bullock

What can Congress learn from the states? Quite a bit actually.

Natalie Wood testifies before Congress; photo Berkeley Teate, NCSLIn fact, the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress was established to learn how to make the governing body work better for the American people.

So, when Congress needed the state perspective, it reached out to NCSL. Natalie Wood, director of NCSL’s Center for Legislative Strengthening, testified Thursday on the “Rules and Procedures in the in the U.S. House: A look at Reform Efforts and State Best Practices.”

As Wood points out, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to procedure in each of the 99 state legislative chambers. She states, "Parliamentary rules and procedures govern group decision-making in legislative chambers. We often describe them as ‘tried and true.’ "

Wood’s overall testimony focused on four main areas relating to collaboration, bipartisanship and efficiency:

  1. Manage time.
  2. Structure committee work.
  3. Institute decorum.
  4. Build relationships.

You can read her full testimony here.

Mick Bullock is NCSL's director of public affairs.

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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.