Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee

Meeting Summary

Phoenix, Arizona
December 10, 2010

Welcome and Introductions
Tim Rice, NCSL Staff Chair, opened the meeting by welcoming and introducing LSCC members. He said 356 books were donated to the USO book drive at Legislative Summit in Louisville.  

NCSL Executive Director’s Report
Bill Pound, NCSL Executive Director, noted that there was significant turnover in the composition of state legislatures as a result of the November elections. He emphasized that this will place a premium on personal contact with NCSL’s new constituents. Bill described the recently completed refinancing of NCSL’s office building in Denver, which will result in significant dollar savings. He said the FY 2011 budget was about where it should be through the end of November. Bill commented on discussions the organization is having about whether there should be three or four Executive Committee/LSCC meetings next year, and whether a meeting should be coupled with Fall Forum as in Phoenix. He pointed to challenges facing NCSL with the new Congress and what that might mean for assistance to states. Bill concluded by noting that attendance at Fall Forum was about 800, which was higher than last year in San Diego. 

Preview of the Executive Committee Meetings
Tim Rice briefly reviewed the Executive Committee agenda and encouraged LSCC staff to attend sessions of interest. 

Reports from LSCC Work Groups
Legislative Institution. Gary Wieman, vice chair, presented the work group’s report. He described efforts to inventory NCSL documents, post them on NCSL’s collaboration website and market them to legislative staff. He noted discussion about developing a young professionals group and promoting sessions and social events at Legislative Summit to engage new staff. Gary concluded his remarks by describing ideas to inspire longer-term staff and promote the value of the legislative institution. Nancy Cyr, NCSL Immediate Past Staff Chair, led a discussion about NCSL’s video project to promote legislative service as a career. Mike Sunseri updated staff on the status of video production. Shawn Collins, Chief of Staff to NCSL President Senator Richard Moore, described several civility initiatives, including a session at Legislative Summit in San Antonio.    

Outreach. Peggy Piety, chair, presented the work group’s report. She noted that the Personal and District Staff Network will meet in San Antonio on August 7, the day before the formal opening of Legislative Summit. She said the work group will try to develop a contact list of potential attendees for an e-mail blast, and will focus on regional marketing of the network pre-conference. Peggy noted that there will be an orientation for legislative staff new to Legislative Summit on August 8. She described discussions about the possibility of enabling Statehouse Ambassadors to update mailing lists online to increase efficiency in contacting staff, and the best ways to identify new ambassadors in states that currently do not have them.  

Professional Development. Patsy Spaw, chair, presented the work group’s report. She noted there were 27 ideas for new professional development webinars, which will be prioritized into five topics for consideration of e-learning grants. Patsy indicated that there were 34 participants at the 2010 Legislative Staff Management Institute in Sacramento. LSMI had presented the work group with a request for a tuition increase in 2011 to cover rising costs. Patsy offered a motion to approve a tuition increase to $2,250, which the LSCC adopted. She said NCSL will begin marketing the 2011 LSMI, which is scheduled for August 27-September 3, beginning in February. 

NCSL President’s Report
Massachusetts State Senator Richard Moore, NCSL President, congratulated LSCC staff on the essential role they play within NCSL. He noted that NCSL is the only organization with as prominent a role for legislative staff, and that state legislatures cannot function without staff support. Senator Moore encouraged LSCC members to suggest ideas on how best to strengthen the organization. He emphasized the importance of the Legislators’ Back-to-School Program and Project Citizen, and described the new award to be issued in honor of former Massachusetts Senate President and NCSL President, Kevin Harrington, for leadership in civic education at Executive Committee in Boston, May 6-7, 2011. Senator Moore concluded his remarks by describing his Civility Initiative, which will include a plenary session at Spring Forum in Washington, D.C., April 14-15, featuring former Iowa Congressman Jim Leach. 

Reports from LSCC Work Groups (cont.)
Strengthening Legislative Staff. Linda Pittsford, vice chair, presented the work group’s report. She described the Self-Assessment Guide for Legislative Agencies and noted that Doug Sacarto has created an interactive tool that will allow staff to do their own self-evaluation. The tool will be rolled out before the Legislative Effectiveness Committee at Legislative Summit in San Antonio. Discussion ensued about the NCSL collaboration site and the need for training in its use, and the possibility of a senior staff management web page in lieu of conducting a separate training institute. 

Strategic Planning. Michael Adams, NCSL Staff Vice Chair, presented the work group’s report. He described the primary strategic issues that each work group had identified: a) Professional Development—drafting e-learning guidelines for receipt of grant awards to be approved by the Executive Committee; b) Outreach—strengthening the Personal and District Staff Network through a webinar and professional development seminar at Legislative summit; c) Legislative Institution—assessing the applicability of civility issues to legislative staff; d) Strengthening Legislative Staff—reviewing the self-assessment guide to determine its continued viability and any needs for update. Michael indicated that the work group had discussed the role of legislative staff in NCSL Standing Committees, the need to clarify their relationship with legislators on committees, and how to recruit more staff.  He concluded by describing their discussion of the LSCC meeting schedule—how to balance the value of regular communication with cutting costs through less frequent meetings.   

Staff Section Officers. Shelley Day, Legislative Research Librarians’ chair, presented the officers’ report. She reviewed the 2011 schedule of staff section professional development seminars, noting that three staff sections—ASLCS, NALIT and RACSS—have confirmed meetings to date. Shelley then described the status of e-learning grants and the seven successful webinars that staff sections had conducted with grant support. She noted that the officers discussed how to plan a successful webinar and explored additional professional development opportunities, including use of collaboration software.  

Other Business
Tim Rice encouraged staff to use the new NCSL collaboration website and provide feedback on how it is working and might be improved. He asked staff to start thinking about ideas for e-learning grants once the Executive Committee approves the guidelines. He concluded by requesting staff to give him input on the LSCC meeting schedule—does a combined meeting with Fall Forum meet their needs; should NCSL revert to the previous schedule? With that, the meeting adjourned.