Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee

Meeting Summary

Santa Barbara, California
January 25, 2013
Welcome and Introductions
Patsy Spaw, NCSL Staff Chair, opened the meeting and introduced LSCC members.  She emphasized the importance of LSCC and the contributions staff can make to NCSL through LSCC.
NCSL Executive Director’s Report
Bill Pound, NCSL Executive Director, said that it had been a busy autumn for NCSL with 1,700 newly elected legislators, which, when combined with the 2010 elections, resulted in a 47 percent turnover in membership.  He described NCSL’s outreach activities to new legislators and legislative staff, which included several professional development programs in the states.  Bill indicated that the NCSL website redesign was ongoing and that it should be complete by Legislative Summit in August.  He noted that NCSL’s Audit Committee would meet in Santa Barbara to review the FY 2012 audit, and that a newly created subcommittee of the Executive Committee to review the organization’s dues structure also will meet.  Bill said that there will be a presentation to the Executive Committee by a group representing Boston to host the 2017 Legislative Summit.  He reported that NCSL has completed a review of staff tenure and turnover, and the results indicate that NCSL salaries are less competitive at certain levels than salaries in the respective Denver and Washington, D.C. markets.  Bill concluded his remarks by saying that a preliminary review of NCSL’s bylaws is beginning to address inconsistencies in language.
Reports from LSCC Subcommittees
Programs, Professional Development and Member Outreach.  Paula Dominguez, chair, presented the subcommittee’s report.  She said the subcommittee identified six potential speakers for the two staff plenary sessions at Legislative Summit and was forwarding the names to Patsy Spaw for review.  The subcommittee also had developed ideas for two new LSCC-sponsored webinars.  Paula reported that Paul Danczyk with the Legislative Staff Management Institute (LSMI) presented a report on the status of LSMI.  Included in the report were recommendations that the NCSL Foundation for State Legislatures increase its annual contribution to LSMI from $39,000 to $49,000, and that the participant registration fees be raised from $2,250 to $2,750 for those with hotel accommodations, and from $1,500 to $2,350 for those without hotel accommodations.  The rationale for the proposed increases was to cover projected deficits in running the program, which had occurred in the previous two years.  A motion to approve the recommendations was made, discussion occurred, and the motion was approved.
Legislative Institution.  John Bjornson, vice chair, presented the subcommittee’s report.  He reviewed the charges of each of the subcommittee’s three work groups: 1) drafting LSCC bylaws; 2) creating subcommittee handbooks that contain responsibilities and guidelines; and 3) developing mentorship and orientation programs for new LSCC members.  John said the bylaws work group was using a 1998 set of proposed LSCC bylaws as a model to be expanded upon and was halfway through the process; its recommendations would be made to LSCC at the May meeting in Boston.  Julie Pelegrin reported that her work group focused on orientation measures and was proposing that a webinar be presented to new LSCC members between the Legislative Summit and Fall LSCC meeting each year that would answer frequently asked questions about serving on LSCC. She also suggested that letters be sent out to LSCC members each spring describing the recruitment process for seats on NCSL’s Executive Committee.  She concluded her remarks by recommending that there be a more clearly defined career path for legislative staff wanting to be involved with NCSL, which might include a “virtual” professional certificate program to demonstrate skills gained through participation in NCSL activities.  Discussion ensued.
Information Technology and NCSL Website Review.  Chuck Truesdell, chair, presented the subcommittee’s report.  He noted that the subcommittee’s four work groups had reported on their progress: 1) Webinars and e-Learning; 2) Legislative Summit App; 3) Legislative Technology in the States; and 4) Website Review.  Chuck indicated that Gil Rudawsky with GroundFloor Media, NCSL’s website consultant, presented a report on the status of NCSL’s website redesign.  He said the subcommittee was happy with what they saw; the website was cleaner and easier to navigate.  Chuck suggested that there be a webinar on how to use the Legislative Summit App.  He said the third work group was developing a survey instrument that would be sent out to information technology directors to determine what they want to learn from each other.
Reports from LSCC Work Groups
Staff Section Officers.  Peggy Piety, chair, presented the officers’ report.  She reviewed the schedule of the 2012 staff section professional development seminars (PDS) and noted that the “Super PDS” held in Madison in October—which included six of the nine staff sections that conducted PDS last year—was a success.  The other 2012 PDS were conducted by NALFO in Salt Lake City; NLPES in Atlanta; and ASLCS in Richmond.  All met or exceeded attendance projections.  Peggy listed confirmed 2013 PDS to include NLPES and NLSSA in Austin in September; ASLCS in Sacramento in October; and NALIT in Raleigh in October.  Other staff sections are still in the planning process.  Peggy reviewed the New Staff Section Officer Orientation webinar held in December and noted that it attracted a comparable attendance to that at Legislative Summit in San Antonio in 2011.  The archived webinar has received significant traffic, a benefit to doing a webinar. 
Standing Committees.  Linda Pittsford, co-chair, presented the committees’ report.  She reviewed the attendance figures for the 2012 Fall Forum held in Washington, D.C., noting that 60 staff participated on 10 committees.  The special briefings held for staff during the forum “Lobby Day on the Hill” received high scores.  Linda reminded staff that the Spring Forum is scheduled for May 2-4, in Denver.  She said that another round of letters will go out to staff offices seeking appointment of staff to the committees.
Strategic Planning.  Tom Wright, NCSL Staff Vice Chair, delivered the work group’s report.  He emphasized his goal to strengthen outreach efforts to legislative staff to become more involved with LSCC and NCSL.  He said he wanted to continue or finish the work that Patsy Spaw has begun this year to provide continuity and achieve results.  Tom concluded his remarks by suggesting that staff attending the Executive Committee/LSCC meeting in Boston, May 31-June 1, make an effort to visit the State House and meet with their Massachusetts counterparts.
Other Business
Patsy Spaw reviewed the 2012/2013 staff section PDS schedules, referring back to Peggy Piety’s presentation.  She emphasized the importance of a strong “Salute to Legislative Staff” session at Legislative Summit in Atlanta to recognize staff achievement.  There was discussion about whether staff sections would be able to hold breakfast business meetings since the “Salute to Legislative Staff” will be a luncheon.  Patsy concluded her remarks by urging LSCC staff to attend the Executive Committee sessions on Saturday.
The meeting adjourned.