By David Douglass
NCSL annually welcomes and provides special programs for international delegates attending the Legislative Summit.
NCSL received 285 legislators, legislative staff, government officials and lobbyists from 18 countries at the 2019 Legislative Summit, a robust gathering of professionals committed to strengthening networks and institutions around the world.
During the opening session, NCSL President Toi Hutchinson (D-Ill.) and Staff Chair Jon Heining (Texas), Senator Curt Bramble (R-Utah), co-chair of the International Relations Task Force and NCSL immediate past president, addressed the group and facilitated the introduction of each international delegation.
Several perspectives on "Misinformation in the 21st Century" were shared.
Raúl Burciaga, director of the New Mexico Legislative Council Service and staff chair of the NCSL International Relations Task Force, explained that the rise of misinformation around the world in the age of the internet has challenged governments, media and citizens to distinguish accurate information from misleading noise. More specifically, legislators and legislative staff feel increasingly compelled to devise effective public policy solutions for this growing problem.
Representative Keven J. Stratton (R-Utah) shared his experience as the chief sponsor of a House bill designed to promote safe technology utilization and digital citizenship in public schools. Noam Lupu, associate professor of political science at Vanderbilt University and associate director of the Latin American Public Opinion Project, presented his research findings on political behavior and public opinion as shaped through social media usage in Latin America.
After the speakers fielded several questions from the international attendees, Felix Ortiz (D-N.Y), assistant speaker of the New York Assembly and co-chair of the International Relations Task Force, moderated a series of hour-long roundtable discussions in which international colleagues brainstormed about possible public policy solutions to the challenge of misinformation in their home-country contexts.
During the remaining days of the Legislative Summit, international delegation members attended many different sector-specific sessions alongside their U.S. colleagues, including those addressing international trade, investment, economic development and more.
The international colleagues toured the Tennessee State Capitol hosted by the local delegation. The group toured the state office complex at the Cordell Hull Building, visited both chambers of the Tennessee General Assembly, and enjoyed remarks from Lieutenant Governor and Senate Speaker Randy McNally and Senate Clerk Russell Humphrey.
David Douglass is a policy specialist in NCSL’s International Program.