American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries Overview

ASLCS Logo
History

The American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries (ASLCS) was founded in 1943 to improve legislative administration and to establish better communication between clerks and secretaries throughout the United States and its territories. In 1974, ASLCS joined with several state legislative groups to form the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). From small beginnings, the Society has grown to include an active membership of more than four hundred principal clerks and secretaries and legislative support staff. Today, the Society is the most active of NCSL's nine staff sections.

Purposes and Functions

ASLCS was created to provide an effective forum for solving professional problems common to legislative clerical officers and their staffs. Legislative clerks and secretaries and their staff members work in a unique environment for which little formal training is available. ASLCS works to fulfill these training needs. ASLCS training programs concentrate on:

  • Improving the administrative and parliamentary effectiveness of state legislatures;

  • Developing procedures for enhancing the lawmaking function;

  • Improving the skills and professionalism of employees in the offices of clerks and secretaries;

  • Increasing understanding of the roles and relationships among different staff activities and responsibilities; and

  • Providing a forum in which clerks and secretaries can meet and learn from one another.

One major accomplishment of the Society is the revision of the Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure. At the invitation of NCSL, a special commission of ASLCS was established in 1984. The 1989 edition of Mason's is the most widely used manual of parliamentary procedure in state legislatures. The commission continues within the Society. Another revised publication is planned at the end of the decade, based upon changes in case law and parliamentary practice.

Membership and Operations

The Society's membership is made up of the elected or appointed legislative clerks and secretaries in the 50 states and the possessions and territories of the U.S. Associate members are legislative employees designated by the principal clerks and secretaries from the personnel in their offices. Any former member may maintain an associate level membership. Associates make up the largest segment of the Society's membership. The Society's operations are governed by its bylaws and standing orders under the guidance of the Executive Committee, and most of the work of the Society is done in committees. The Society convenes three times a year, at the Spring Business Meeting, NCSL Legislative Summit, and the Fall Professional Development Seminar.

International Relations

ASLCS has supportive working relations with its counterparts in:

  • Canada: Association of Clerks-at-the-Table in Canada (CATT)
    • ​2020 Annual Meeting: Summer 2020 (exact dates and location TBD)
  • Mexico: Association of Chief Clerks of Mexico's State Legislatures and the Federal District of Mexico (ANOMAC)
    • ​2020 Annual Meeting: Fall 2020 (exact dates and location TBD)
  • Central America: Association of Central American Legislative Clerks (ATELCA), which includes Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama
  • Australia and New Zealand: Australia and New Zealand Association of Clerks-at-the-Table (ANZACATT)
    • 2020 Annual Meeting: January 22-24 in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
  • South Africa: Secretaries' Association of the Legislatures of South Africa (SALSA)