LSCC Meeting | May 2014


Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee

Meeting Summary

Anchorage, Alaska
May 30, 2014

Welcome and Introductions

Tom Wright, NCSL Staff Chair, called the meeting to order.  He asked members to introduce themselves.  The following LSCC members were present:

Tom Wright, Alaska, Staff Chair
Peggy Piety, Indiana, Staff Vice Chair
Patsy Spaw, Texas, Immediate Past
     Staff Chair
Karl Aro, Maryland
Rich Beckwith, Missouri
John Bjornson, North Dakota
Melissa Calderwood, Kansas
Martha Carter, Nebraska
Ann Cornwell, Arkansas
Lore Christopher, Oregon
Nancy Cyr, Nebraska
Lisa Davis, Mississippi
Rick DeLeon, Texas
Sabah Eltareb, California
Susan Fox, Montana
Sonia Gavin, Montana
Mildred Hamilton, Arkansas
Scott Harrison, Nebraska
Aurora Hauke, Alaska
Jon Heining, Texas
Bryant Howe, Utah
Russell Humphrey, Tennessee
Wayne Kidd, Utah
Lisa Kieffer, Georgia
Debra Levine, New York
Ken Levine, Texas
Sabrina Lewellen, Arkansas
Suzi Lowell, Alaska
Tara Perkinson, Virginia
Linda Pittsford, Texas
Walker Reagan, North Carolina
Joel Redding, Kentucky
Mike Sunseri, Kentucky
David Teal, Alaska
Chuck Truesdell, Kentucky
Chuck Williams, Jr., South Carolina
Jan Yamane, Hawaii


Appointment to Fill Executive Committee Vacancy

Tom Wright informed the group that Paula Dominguez resigned from Executive Committee in April to accept a Fulbright Scholarship that will take her to India for research.  He said he was nominating Debra Levine to fill her at-large seat on Executive Committee, and promoting Susan Fox to co-staff chair of the NCSL Standing Committees, which will elevate her to an ex-officio spot on Executive Committee.  The Executive Committee will approve Debra’s appointment when it meets tomorrow.

NCSL Executive Director’s Report/Preview of Executive Committee Meeting

Bill Pound, NCSL Executive Director, described four NCSL bylaws amendments that the Executive Committee will review tomorrow and be approved at the business meeting in Minneapolis in August.  He discussed the proposed NCSL budget for FY 2015—a continuing budget with a 3 percent salary pool—that the Executive Committee will review and adopt tomorrow, and a new dues schedule for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.  He said a 2-3 percent dues increase is a possibility, and the committee will also address how such an increase should be apportioned (i.e., on the “base” or “population” or a combination of both), and whether there should be a cap on the amount assessed on large states.

Bill described a series of professional development programs being offered to NCSL staff and said they have been well received.  He noted NCSL’s information technology costs are going down with a reduction in staff and movement of some functions to the “Cloud.”  He indicated visits to NCSL’s website are up significantly since it went live in October 2013, including usage by phones and tablets.  Bill noted NCSL has been able to reduce scheduling conflicts at this year’s Legislative Summit that had sometimes resulted in legislative staff missing meetings to which they shared dual assignments.  He said NCSL was embarking on a new e-survey of legislators and legislative staff between now and the November elections because of significant turnover in NCSL’s membership and new ways of conducting meetings due to advances in technology.  He concluded his remarks by announcing that Deana Blackwood, his long-time executive assistant who has been responsible for organizing the Executive Committee/LSCC meetings for several years, would be retiring in August and this would be her last Executive Committee/LSCC meeting. 

Reports from LSCC Subcommittees

Information Technology Issues.  Melissa Calderwood, chair, presented the subcommittee’s report.  She encouraged LSCC staff to tweet a comment or create a hash tag to comment on the Anchorage meeting.  She noted from 2011-2014, there has been a healthy increase in staff participation in NCSL webinars.  She provided an update on the Legislative Summit mobile app, saying it is simpler and more user friendly, and encouraged staff to use it to provide feedback on the Legislative Summit.  Melissa said the subcommittee soon would be sending out a survey to IT directors on the state of technology in legislatures.  She concluded her remarks by thanking the Alaska Legislature for its presentation to the subcommittee on its website, the legislature’s app, and how the legislature is using teleconferencing to engage more Alaska citizens because of the great travel distances in the state.

Legislative Institution.  Jon Heining, vice chair, presented the subcommittee’s report.  He noted the subcommittee had completed its review of amendments to the LSCC bylaws and they would be presented to LSCC members in mid-July for their review before consideration by the full LSCC at Legislative Summit in August.  He described the changes to articles dealing with Scope of Authority and Purpose; Membership and Duties of Officers; Establishment, Merger, and Dissolution of Staff Sections; and Vacancies in Office.  The most significant change would clarify that a new Staff Chair who succeeded to that position due to a vacancy would serve the remainder of that term and be eligible for a full term.

Programs, Professional Development and Outreach.   Karl Aro, chair, presented the subcommittee’s report.  He noted the Legislative Staff Management Institute (LSMI) has accepted 45 participants from 20 states for its program July 12-19 in Sacramento.  He said the subcommittee discussed options to expand access to the LSMI program to staff unable to travel by streaming certain sessions.  Mike Sunseri described the subcommittee’s work in following up on contacts to first-time Legislative Summit staff attendees to sustain their interest in participating in NCSL.

Reports from LSCC Work Groups

Staff Section Officers.  Rick DeLeon, chair, presented the work group’s report.  He indicated the work group had continued its discussions of how to increase joint professional development seminars (PDS)  for staff sections this fall, and encourage the use of staff section officers as faculty at other staff section PDS.  The work group sent a questionnaire to all staff section officers to get feedback on what works best for each staff section.  Rick concluded his remarks by noting the work group continued to work on developing a webinar for new staff section officers as an introduction to NCSL, LSCC and their new responsibilities as officers.

Standing Committees.  Nancy Cyr and Susan Fox, co-chairs, presented the work group’s report.  The emphasis has been on how best to keep staff engaged in standing committees with the elimination of one of the three meetings (Spring Forum).  They referenced a comprehensive list of standing committee activities in the Executive Committee/LSCC agenda book on pages 109-113 which includes webinars, conference calls, communications, special meetings and newsletters.  They also noted the standing committee staff officers have followed-up with first-time Legislative Summit staff attendees who indicated an interest in becoming members of the standing committees.

Strategic Planning.  Peggy Piety, NCSL Staff Vice Chair, presented the work group’s report.  She noted the work group discussed several ideas she proposed for consideration by LSCC subcommittees next year to determine how appropriate they were.  The work group received a presentation from Karen Hansen, NCSL’s Director of Communications, on the use of multiple platforms, including videos, to get information out to legislative staff as part of an introduction to NCSL.

Other Business

Tom Wright informed staff about the two Legislative Summit plenary session speakers for the Legislative Staff University and Legislative Staff Achievement Luncheon—Sari de la Motte and former Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe, respectively.  He announced his appointments to the Legislative Staff Nominating Committee, chaired by Nancy Cyr, former NCSL Staff Chair and Director of the Nebraska Legislative Research Office.  Larry Morandi, NCSL’s Director of State Policy Research, reviewed the deadlines for filling letters of candidacy for NCSL Staff Vice Chair—July 1—and for staff at-large membership on NCSL’s Executive Committee—July 15.  Tom invited LSCC members to a dinner later that night, and reviewed the two receptions that were part of the Executive Committee/LSCC meeting. 

The meeting adjourned.