National Association of Legislative Information Technology
NALIT 2012 Business Meeting, Thursday, August 8, 2012

NCSL Legislative Summit, Chicago, Illinois

Meeting Minutes


The NALIT Business Meeting was held at the McCormick Convention Center in Chicago, Illinois on Wednesday, August 8, 2012.  The meeting was called to order at 8:30 a.m. by NALIT Chair Rich Beckwith. Legislative staff attendees present were:

Mark Allred, UT

Gay Logston, WV

Gigi Brickle, SC

Dennis McCarty, NC

Dawna L. Attig, VT

Gopali Nanda, MD

Rich Beckwith, MO

Jonathan Palmore, VA

Peter Capriglione, NC

Joel Redding, KY

Duncan Goss, VT

Mendora Servin, CA

Eric Dugger, NV

Joey Sheen, WV

Chris Grusel, TX

Jason Steckler, ND

Glenn Harris, ID

Jim Swain, KY

Janell Hopkins, TX

Gary Wieman, NE

Soren Jacobsen, ID

NCSL Staff:

Heather Kohler, MD

Brian Weberg, NCSL

Steve Kriegish, TN

Pam Greenberg, NCSL Liaison to NALIT

NALIT Chair Rich Beckwith opened the meeting by asking for a motion to adopt the minutes from the 2011 NALIT Business Meeting.  Copies of the minutes were available on each table and were posted to the NALIT website in August 2011.  A motion to approve the minutes was made by Jim Swain and seconded by Jonathan Palmore. The motion carried to approve the minutes.

Michael Adams of the Virginia Senate, outgoing NCSL Staff Chair; and Patsy Spaw of Texas, NCSL incoming Staff Chair; and Tom Wright of Alaska, newly-elected Staff Vice Chair; arrived at the meeting as part of their visits to each staff section. Michael Adams noted that the two staff officers from each staff section meet and participate four times a year as part of the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee (LSCC). Rich and Peter represented NALIT well as part of the LSCC last year and contributed greatly to the SuperPDS planning. Michael expressed his thanks to them and his pleasure in having had the opportunity to serve as NCSL Staff Chair. He also noted that Rich Beckwith was elected to the NCSL Executive Committee.
Patsy Spaw spoke next, also noting that NALIT has been well-represented on the LSCC . She said she has appreciated working with NALIT members and noted that the work that IT professionals do is vital to the legislative institution. She has seen the revolution in technology and has seen what a critical part it plays. Patsy solicited advice, input, and criticism about how the NCSL Executive Committee and NCSL can serve its members.  
The NALIT Business Meeting then resumed, with Rich thanking the members of the NALIT Executive Committee for their service in the 2011-12 conference year and for participating in many conference calls related to NALIT business over the past year. He thanked officers Peter Capriglione, Vice Chair; Troy Adkins, Secretary; and thanked Linda Pittsford, for stepping in again as Past Chair after Dave Larson retired from the legislature.  He also thanked NALIT directors Curtis Clothier, Alaska; Eric Dugger, Nevada; Jonathan Palmore, Virginia Senate; Mendora Servin, California; Joel Redding, Kentucky; and Gary Schaefer, Louisiana Senate. Rich also thanked NALIT committee members for their service.

Rich also expressed appreciation to Tim Rice and other Illinois staff who were host state volunteers for the Legislative Summit.  

Rich announced that the 2012 NALIT Professional Development Seminar (PDS) would be held in Madison, Wisconsin on Oct. 9-12 and encouraged NALIT members to attend. Rich explained that five other staff sections will be meeting together—the greatest number since four other groups met together in 1996. This new “SuperPDS” will allow NALIT members to spend time with and look at issues from different angles and to gather new ideas and solutions.  For example, NALIT has scheduled sessions with the legal and communications staff.  Rich also noted that the joint meeting may help NCSL with lodging considerations and logistics handling. He emphasized that it’s an opportunity to learn from the other staff sections, who are IT customers.

Rich then presented the NALIT Legislative Staff Achievement Awards for 2012. The first award was presented to Jonathan Palmore of the Virginia Senate. The second NALIT award was given to the team of Steve Dustin, Heather Kohler and Gopali Nanda. Heather Kohler and Gopali Nanda accepted the award on the team’s behalf.

Rich mentioned that legislative websites are the way that most constituents know legislatures. He then announced the winner of the NALIT/LINCS Online Democracy Award—the Hawaii Legislature’s web site.

Next, Gary Wieman, Chair of the 2012 Nominating Committee, announced that the committee was very pleased with the slate of officers for the 2012-13 conference year.  The following NALIT members were submitted for approval by the membership:

  • Chair: Peter Capriglione, North Carolina
  • Vice Chair: Troy Adkins, Virginia
  • Secretary: Joel Redding, Kentucky
  • Past Chair: Rich Beckwith, Missouri

Gary made a motion to accept the slate of officers, and Duncan Goss seconded the motion. Members were asked to approve by voice vote the slate offered by the nominating committee.  The vote was unanimous; none opposed.

The next order of business was the proposed changes to the NALIT By-Laws. Rich noted that the proposed changes had been sent out well in advance to all the NALIT membership and that they were also posted to the NALIT website.  Rich explained that the proposed changes would move the NALIT Annual Business Meeting, now held in conjunction with the NCSL Legislative Summit, to the fall PDS. However, the changes also give the NALIT Executive Committee the flexibility to change the date if needed.
The change was proposed to allow for greater participation in the Association by its membership, since the fall PDS typically has higher attendance than the Legislative Summit. Other proposed changes were for consistency and clarity. Rich asked for discussion from the group, indicating that the NALIT Executive Committee had discussed the proposals extensively, but that members of the association needed to have the chance to discuss the proposal.

In response to a question, Rich explained that the changes would become effective on October 15, 2012 if adopted, and that the newly elected officers would therefore serve a slightly longer term than normal. Gary Wieman expressed some concern that the changes could hamstring the incoming NCSL Staff Chair in making appointments to the LSCC committees. The two NALIT officers/ representatives could potentially miss the first LSCC meeting, and the LSCC meetings also have occasionally conflicted with the dates of the NALIT PDS.

Other NALIT members asked if the business meeting could be held electronically, for example, via a webinar, or expressed concern about how some members attend the Summit instead of the PDS, and whether they could vote by proxy if not able to be physically present.

It also was suggested that since the new proposed By-Laws have greater flexibility, if approved, needed changes could be made at a business meeting held at the PDS.

Duncan Goss made a motion to adopt the By-Laws as proposed, to direct the Executive Committee to bring the issue up at the PDS and to explore the possibility of holding a business meeting by webinar or other technological means. If this was determined to be a problem, it could be revisited at the PDS Business Meeting. Jim Swain seconded the motion.

Gary Wieman expressed concern with approving changes that have potential problems—he suggested waiting and correcting problems before  formally approving By-Laws changes. Rich encouraged further discussion to be sure everyone had the chance to have ideas vetted and to have all viewpoints expressed.

Joel Redding noted that since the PDS is scheduled for October, there could be limited time to revisit the issue, make needed changes, and allow for proper notice to the membership. Other members asked about dates of meetings, opportunities to hold additional business meetings, and when the next normally scheduled opportunity for changes to the By-Laws would be (at the 2013 Legislative Summit in Atlanta).

Given the short timeframe for consideration of changes, Duncan Goss indicated he would withdraw his motion.  Gary Wieman then made a formal motion to table the proposed By-Laws changes; it was seconded by Duncan. A vote of the membership found 10 in favor of tabling the proposed By-Laws changes; 5 opposed. As such the motion carried, and the proposed By-Laws changes did not pass.

Rich then thanked NALIT members for their thoughtful discussion and consideration of the changes.  He also thanked the members for the opportunity to serve as Chair in the past year. Recognition and appreciation was expressed by Rich to our NCSL Staff Liaison Pam Greenberg for all her work and dedication to the NALIT Staff Section, which was acknowledged unanimously by the meeting attendees. Rich turned the meeting over to newly elected NALIT Chair Peter Capriglione.

Peter said he was looking forward to serving as Chair and to having discussions with NALIT members. He noted that NALIT members are responsible for IT, but they also do much more than that and work in many different capacities. Peter said he is looking forward to the SuperPDS and hoped to see many NALIT members there.