The NCSL Standing Committees provide an opportunity for legislators and staff to benefit from the experiences of other states in shaping public policy, experimenting with new laws and managing the legislative institutions. Committee members explore issues states have to deal with but committees do not recommend policy to the legislatures on issues that are internal to the states. Committees do develop policy directives and resolutions on state-federal issues to guide NCSL's advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C.
NCSL's Washington staff lobby the Congress, the White House and federal agencies for the benefit of state legislatures in accord with the policy directives and resolutions recommended by the Standing Committees and adopted at the NCSL Legislative Summit Business Meeting. As a result of those policy decisions, NCSL is nationally recognized as a formidable lobbying force in state-federal relations.