In the fall of 1986, a group of legislative education staff, with the support of the Danforth Foundation, met to discuss the needs of legislative education staff in improving their ability to perform their jobs. As a result of that and subsequent discussions, the Danforth Foundation agreed to support networking and professional development activities for legislative education staff for a limited time. These activities were conducted in conjunction with the Education Commission of the States (ECS) and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
The organizational structure for this group was called the Legislative Education Staff Network (LESN) and that network has been formally recognized by both ECS and NCSL. Bylaws adopted in 1991 at meetings of the LESN established a LESN Steering Committee to assist ECS and NCSL in planning LESN activities.
At the time the LESN was formed, several needs were identified by legislative education staff. Those needs included: (1) to provide the opportunity to network with legislative education staff from other states and representatives from other education agencies and organizations, (2) to provide staff development and training opportunities, (3) to provide clearinghouse functions for information receipt and interaction with experts, (4) to provide research results from targeted policy areas and (5) to provide technical assistance to staff in developing proposals.
LESN continues to provide learning opportunities for legislative education staff in conjunction with ECS and NCSL meetings.
Legislative Education Staff Network Bylaws
As Adopted 8-11-88 (Baltimore);
As Amended 7-02 (Hollywood and Denver);
As Amended 7-11-06 (Minneapolis);
As Amended 7-12 (Atlanta);
Article 1 - ORGANIZATION
Section 1. Name - The name of this organization is the Legislative Education Staff Network, hereinafter referred to as the LESN.
Section 2. Purpose - The purpose of the LESN is to positively impact public policy development in education through the staff assistance to state legislatures.
Section 3. Objectives - To implement this purpose, the LESN has the following objectives: to actively encourage interaction and information exchange between legislative education staff, between legislative education staff and education practitioners and researchers, and between legislative education staff and other education policy staff; to provide opportunities for legislative education staff to focus on critical education issues including how states are dealing with those issues and research and practices relevant to those issues; to promote effective relationships between legislative education staff and state legislators; and to promote the professionalization of the LESN membership.
Section 4. Membership - Membership in the LESN is open to all legislative staff persons in any state or territory of the United States who works on education issues. Education staff of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the Education Commission of the States (ECS), and staff of other organizations that support the LESN are nonvoting members.
Section 5. Voting - Unless otherwise specified in these bylaws, issues submitted to the membership for a vote must be submitted at each of the two required regular meetings. A vote is by voice unless a roll call is requested. A question submitted for a vote is adopted if it is adopted at regular meetings held in conjunction with ECS and NCSL meetings. The steering committee may provide for voting by mail.
ARTICLE 2 - MEETINGS
Section 1. Regular Meetings - Meetings of the LESN shall be held at times and places designated by the steering committee. Two meetings shall be held annually, one in conjunction with the ECS annual meeting and one in conjunction with a NCSL meeting.
Section 2. Special Meetings - Special meetings of the LESN may be set by the steering committee. The LESN, as determined by the steering committee, may also cosponsor with other organizations joint meetings that are relevant for legislative education staff.
ARTICLE 3 - STEERING COMMITTEE AND OFFICERS
Section 1. Steering Committee - Except as provided in section 3 of this article, the steering committee consists of no greater than twelve members of the LESN selected by the ECS and the NCSL. Any member of the steering committee may, if unable to attend a steering committee meeting, designate a LESN member to represent that steering committee member. The steering committee may organize itself in any manner necessary to conduct the business of the LESN. The steering committee shall ensure that notice of meetings is provided. The steering committee shall maintain a record of all meetings and votes of the LESN and the steering committee. The steering committee shall keep an account of all monies received or disbursed by the LESN.
Section 2. Officers - The officers of the LESN are the appointed co-chairs who shall preside at all meetings of the LESN and of the steering committee and shall have general control over the affairs of the LESN subject to the approval of the steering committee.
Section 3. Selection of Steering Committee - ECS – The steering committee consists of no greater than twelve members.
- ECS – The ECS may appoint a number of steering committee members equal to the number of members appointed by the NCSL. If the NCSL appoints more than 8 members to the steering committee, then the steering committee may vote to increase the total steering committee membership to include additional ECS representation. The ECS representatives shall include a member appointed as co-chair for the duration of one year. The current co-chair appointed by ECS shall continue to serve an additional year in a general steering committee member capacity.
- NCSL – The NCSL shall appoint members to the steering committee that shall be the staff co-chairs and staff vice chairs of the NCSL Education Standing Committee serving as ex officio members. One of the staff co-chairs, as determined by the co-chairs, shall serve as the LESN co-chair
- To the extent possible, steering committee members should represent a variety of states and staff functions (i.e. partisan and non-partisan, policy, fiscal and legal) and have a gender, geographic and racial balance.
Section 4. Terms - The members of the steering committee are appointed for one year, beginning October 1. Current steering committee members may be asked to continue to serve an additional one year term.
Section 5. Vacancies - The ECS and the NCSL may appoint steering committee members to fill any vacancies throughout the term.
ARTICLE 4 - FINANCING
Section 1. Grants - The ECS and the NCSL may apply for and receive grants that further the purpose and objectives of the LESN.
Section 2. Contracts - The ECS and the NCSL may enter into contracts and agreements to provide services to the LESN members.
ARTICLE 5 - AMENDMENTS
Article 1, Section 5. Voting - Amendments to the bylaws may be voted upon at each of the required regular meetings.
Article 3, Section 1. Steering Committee and Officers – Limits the steering committee to no greater than twelve members of the LESN selected by the ECS and the NCSL .
Article 3, Section 3. Selection of Steering Committee - Limits the steering committee to no greater than twelve members. Directs the ECS to appoint a number of steering committee members equal to the number of members appointed by the NCSL. If the NCSL appoints more than 8 members to the steering committee, then the steering committee may vote to increase the total steering committee membership to include additional ECS representation.
Article 3, Section 4. Terms – Limits steering committee appointments to one year. Current steering committee members are permitted to continue to serve an additional one year term.
For more information, contact: Sara Shelton, NCSL Staff Liaison or Emily Workman, ECS Staff Liaison.