Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee

Meeting Summary

July 22, 2008
New Orleans, Louisiana

NCSL Staff Chair Sharon Crouch Steidel convened the meeting and introduced LSCC members.  Delaware State Representative and NCSL President Donna Stone acknowledged the significant role of legislative staff in supporting elected officials and thanked them.

Bill Pound, NCSL Executive Director, indicated that registration for the 2008 Legislative Summit topped 6,000 and included more than 700 legislative staff.  He thanked staff section officers for their work in recommending changes to the overhead allocation formula and hotel contracts for professional development seminars.  Bill noted that the NCSL Foundation for State Legislatures exceeded its fund raising goal and is supporting staff-related efforts, including the Legislative Staff Management Institute and e-learning.

Sharon introduced members of the Staff Nominating Committee.  She noted that six staff were running for four positions on the Executive Committee and three staff were seeking the position of Staff Vice-Chair.

Standing Committees Special Workgroup
Laura DeVivo reported that the April 23-26 Spring Forum in Washington, D.C., drew record attendance of nearly 900 participants that included 271 legislators and 121 legislative staff.  Among the highlights was a Saturday morning program that featured John Bruton, European Union Ambassador to the United States.  High marks also were given to committee meetings; a plenary session featuring Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander; and a discussion of state fiscal conditions and immigration policy by NCSL staff Corina Eckl and Ann Morse, who filled in for Congressman Barney Frank.

Legislative Institution Subcommittee
Tim Rice reported that the subcommittee had examined legislatures of the future, separation of powers and the importance of nonpartisan staff; most of the work focused on legislatures of the future.  The subcommittee identified issues on the horizon that are likely to affect state legislatures in five areas—technology, political, social/demographic, economic and environmental.  The subcommittee recommended research and review of technology and political forces in 2008-2009, and of social/demographic, economic and environmental issues in 2009-2010.  The subcommittee suggested that the Legislative Effectiveness standing committee be used to explore the horizon issues with legislators. Tim noted that a Separation of Powers web page is up on NCSL's web site and welcomed staff contributions of resources to enhance the page.  As the subcommittee continues to evaluate the importance of nonpartisan staff to legislatures, he emphasized the importance of including more partisan staff in LSCC to broaden its perspective.   

Professional Development Subcommittee
Nancy Cyr summarized subcommittee actions during the year.  The subcommittee:

  • Approved the Legislative Staff Management Institute 2008 curriculum and budget; marketed the institute to staff; and recommended that NCSL continue its contractual relationship with the University of Southern California and California State University Sacramento.
  • Agreed that the Senior Management Legislative Seminar not continue in its current format and explored alternative programming options.
  • Identified two topics for the Legislative Summit Mega Sessions:  "Juggling Power, Principle and Professionalism," July 23; and "The Millennial Makeover," July 24.
  • Developed a "Top 10 Tips for a Successful Legislative Summit," e-mailed them to registered first-time attendees and scheduled an orientation session for July 23.
  • Participated with Staff Section officers in a task force to study the overhead cost allocation formula for professional development seminars.
  • Approved a proposal for a pilot regional meeting of district staff in Dallas, February 6-8, 2009.
  • Agreed to cosponsor the Walk for Wellness at the Legislative Summit on July 25.

Marketing and Outreach Subcommittee
Jamie Jo Franklin reported on several subcommittee recommendations, including:

  • A Statehouse Ambassador's network meeting at Legislative Summit on July 24.
  • Distribution of the "NCSL and You" brochure at the staff section professional development seminars and orientation sessions at other meetings.
  • Overview descriptions of NCSL on each staff section web page.
  • Messages from NCSL's president and each staff section chair on the staff section web pages following Executive Committee meetings.
  • A one-page summary of each staff section's professional development seminar evaluation.
  • Identifying and developing outreach tools for underserved staff groups, such as district staff, constituent services and human resources.
  • Developing outreach materials for staff in states surrounding the host state for each professional development seminar to generate interest and attendance in a cost-effective manner.     

Technology Review Subcommittee
Michael Adams reported that the subcommittee was monitoring and identifying opportunities to use NCSL's association management system, TIMSS.  The subcommittee's most important work was evaluating strategies for NCSL's web site redesign.  Michael noted that a mock-up of the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries' web site was developed to demonstrate how the new staff portal would look.  He indicated that LSCC would monitor development of other staff section web sites to ensure consistency with NCSL's overall redesign.  The subcommittee applauded implementation of NCSL's new 50-state bill status system, noting it as a major accomplishment.  Finally, Michael noted that the most difficult part of promoting e-learning among staff sections and standing committees was developing the content to be conveyed, not the technology to be used.  He recommended that a group be convened to set goals for creating web page content.          

Staff Section Officers
Dawn Reese reported that staff section officers completed their evaluation of the overhead cost allocation formula and hotel contracts for professional development seminars and made recommendations for change.  The officers developed a new staff section officer orientation program for the Legislative Summit and thanked Ron Snell for preparing a transition manual.  Dawn described the officers' work with NCSL's International Program staff to develop a Legislative Summit program for international participants.  Ken Levine presented the officers' recommendations for strengthening communication between staff sections and NCSL staff.

Doug Sacarto, NCSL Director of Information Technology, demonstrated a mock-up of the staff portal to illustrate NCSL's web site redesign.  The new structure will be simplified to eliminate unnecessary layers of information.  It will progress directly from the home page to topic and service portals, then to content.  The new web site will debut in early 2009.

Gary Van Landingham, NCSL Staff Vice-Chair, announced his intent to finalize the membership of LSCC subcommittees the week after Legislative Summit.  The meeting was adjourned. 

posted 9/19/08 
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