2019 LSS PDS Agenda


A photo of the Tennessee State Capitol BuildingJoin legislative staff from across the nation for networking and learning in beautiful Nashville, Tenn.

The LSS Professional Development Seminar is an opportunity to bring together staff who are critical to the legislative process and provide training and networking for legislative employees who work with leadership, in caucuses, policy analysis, administrative and legislative aide/assistant positions and constituent services.

This PDS is held the day and a half before the annual NCSL Legislative Summit allowing attendees to attend both events without the need for separate travel and housing arangements. 

View the 2019 LSS PDS information and registration page.

* This agenda is subject to change. Check back as more information is added.

Sunday, Aug.4 - All Sessions at the Cordell Hull Building (425 5th Ave N. Nashville, TN 37243)
Time Sessions
8-9 a.m. LSS 2018-2019 Executive Committee Meeting

9-9:15 a.m.

(Cordell Hull Building, 8C)

Welcome and Opening Remarks and Breakfast



  • Josh Nacey, LSS 1st Vice-chair
  • Megan McClure, NCSL LSS Liaison
9:15-10:15 a.m.

Managing Leadership Changes
Change can be scary. Especially when the change is coming from . . . Inside the House!!!!

Leadership change has become more and more common in legislatures.This session will include experiences, lessons learned and advice from 2 seasoned staffers who have recently experienced leadership change. Then the floor will be opened up to provide a forum for Legislative Staff to come together and discuss: unforeseen issues; experiences, what to be on the lookout for if your state finds itself in a leadership change; and how the relationships we built over time in the Legislature can help sustain staff through these transitions. 



  • Branden Pursinger, Oregon


  • Aurora Hauke, Alaska
  • Josh Nacey, Kentucky
10:15 -11:15 a.m. 

Best Practices for New Member Orientation

New Member Orientations are programs that engage, inform, inspire, and mentor new members into being effective legislators. Hear an overview of orientation trends happening state legislatures, plus specific “show-and-tell” examples from states who have found the sweet spot in familiarizing new members with the world of the legislature!



  • Stacy Householder, NCSL
11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Census 2020: Can You See Success from Here?

You know that Census 2020 is coming soon, but can you really see your state's success from here? In this interactive session, a team from the American Institutes for Research will share their data-driven insights on Census 2020, and how they can help you to strategically design a road map for your state's recruitment efforts, with an emphasis on tailored strategies for hard-to-count audiences. The session will also include plenty of time for facilitated interaction with the AIR team and fellow conference attendees, so that you'll leave the session with a new "20/20" vision of your state's Census success.



  • Trish Brennan-Gac, JD, Director State and Local Partnerships, American Institutes for Research

  • Suzie Carmack, Prinicpal Communication and Well-Being Researcher, American Institutes of Research

12:30 - 1:30 p.m.

Lunch and Unstructured Networking

1:30-2:45 p.m.

Collaborative Problem Solving

Legislative staff can be part of situations where two sides are locked into a conflict, and they need to help resolve it.  This hands-on workshop is designed to teach staff to apply the principles of negotiation to help explore creative ways of delivering solutions to conflicts in a way that all sides can leave feeling satisfied.



  • Curt Stedron, NCSL
2:15-2:30 p.m. Break
3-4:15 p.m.

Policy Issue Speed Learning

NCSL Policy experts will be available for short oral presentations on trends and themes in state legislation on a variety of policy areas. Each presentation will last approx. 15 minutes and then attendees will switch to a different topic area they’d like to learn about. Topics areas include, transportation infrastructure, mental health and criminal justice, marijuana policy (health and criminal justice), state budgets and tax reform and opioids.



  • Doug Shinkle, Transportation, NCSL
  • Amber Widgery, Criminal Justice, NCSL
  • Anne Teigen, Criminal Justice, NCSL
  • Erica MacKellar, Fiscal, NCSL
  • Tammy Jo Musgraves, Health, NCSL
4:15-5:15 p.m.

LSS Business Meeting

A chance to meet LSS leadership hear and provide input on plans for the future. And a chance to get more involved with the staff professional association. LSS Officer and Director elections will also be held. Vote on incoming directors, join one of the subcommittees. And the Legislative Staff Achievement Award will be celebrated, and plaques will be given to the 2019 recipients.



  • Josh Nacey, LSS 1st vice-chair, Kentucky
6:30-8 p.m.

LSS Dutch Treat Dinner

Sedona Taphouse

1120 3rd Ave N.

Nashville, TN 37208

Monday, Aug. 5

8:30-9:30 a.m.

(Cordell Hull Building, 8C)

Breakfast & Tennessee Staff Overview 

Eat breakfast with your fellow attendees and get an overview of how staffing works at the Tennessee Legislature with House chief of staff, Scott Gilmer.



  • Scott W. Gilmer, Chief of Staff, House of Representatives, Tennessee
10-11 a.m.

Tennessee State Capitol Tour

Take a tour of the historic Tennessee State Capitol Building.

11 am - 12:15 p.m.

(Cordell Hull Building, 8C)

Maintaining Integrity in a Post Truth World

It seems that we hear of ethics lapses and moral failures every day. In this session, we will look at some of those failures, see what occurred and how we can work to ensure that our values remain intact as we navigate ethically dangerous times. 



  • Mark Quiner, NCSL
12:15 p.m.

LSS PDS Adjourns