2013 Professional Development for Legislative Attorneys and Editors - Agenda

NCSL Contact
Kae Warnock

Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

2-8:00 p.m.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

7 a.m.-5 p.m


8:30-10 a.m.

Supreme Court Update (Handout)
The U.S. Supreme Court's recent term included decisions in several cases with implications on states and states' rights. Hear about court's review and opinions handed down in these cases.
Moderator: Cathlene Hanaman, Legislative Attorney, Legislative Reference Bureau, Wisconsin
Speaker: Lisa Soronen, State and Local Legal Center, Washington, D.C.

10:15 a.m.- Noon

Drafting Bills Contingent on Federal Legislation: The Marketplace Fairness Act (Handout 1| Handout 2)
The Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) has passed the U.S. Senate and is pending before the U.S. House of Representatives.  In 2012 alone, it was estimated that states collectively lost out on $23 billion as a result of not being able to collect sales tax revenue on remote sales.  The sales taxes at issue are already legally owed by the purchaser, but unless a remote seller has a physical presence in the state where the item is being purchased, the remote seller is not required to collect and remit the sales tax revenue to the state. The MFA fixes this tax avoidance problem and allows states to require remote sellers with more than $1 million in out-of-state sales annually to collect state sales tax revenue. Panelists discussed Colorado's effort at meeting the minimum simplification requirements laid out in the MFA, the challenges in drafting a bill based on federal legislation the passage of which is uncertain, as well as Colorado's challenges with local taxing jurisdictions that have home rule authority.

Moderator: Max Behlke, Manager of State-Federal Relations, NCSL, Washington D.C.
Speakers: Esther van Mourik, Senior Staff Attorney II, Office of Legislative Legal Services, Colorado
Geoff Wilson, General Counsel, Colorado Municipal League

10:15 a.m.- Noon

Crossing the Communication Chasm (Editors Track & Leadership Staff Section)
It is not unusual to find several different agencies working on the same issue each from their area of strength.  With all these different groups, it’s also not unusual to find significant holes in communication and lots of duplicated effort.  It’s often difficult for these groups to realize they need to work together in order to make real progress on the problem. Specifically, that it has taken a while for all of the people and organizations that care about their specific interest, to start sharing resources and goals.  In this event we will use Lego play sets to look at the common assumptions, behavioral habits, and communication challenges that hamper communication across departments, workgroups and divisions.

Moderator: Wayne Hedenschoug, Principal Attorney, Legislative Reference Bureau, Illinois

Speaker: Tim Murray , ODL Consultant, Organization Development and Learning, Mountain States Employers’ Council, Inc.

Noon-1:15 p.m.


1:30-3 p.m.

Holding onto the Reins: Drafting Without Losing Legislative Powers (Handout)
Legislators sometimes sponsor legislation that inadvertently or intentionally gives away legislative powers to the executive branch. Other times, legislation may erode legislative powers through overly broad grants of rule-making authority to state agencies. In some cases, legislators may attempt to overreach into the executive branch's authority and in other instances, the executive branch may take actions that infringe on the legislature's powers. What is the proper balance of authority between the legislative and executive branches? What constitutes an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority? How do legislatures protect its powers from attempted erosion by the executive branch? As a legislative attorney, how should you advise individual sponsors and the legislative institution about the dangers of giving away and the importance of defending its legislative powers? This session will explore separation of powers between the 3 branches of government, the concept of plenary power, and ways to protect legislative authority.

Moderator: Richard Hanratty, Senior Legislative Attorney, Legislative Commissioner’s Office, Connecticut
Speakers: Sharon Eubanks, Deputy Director, Office of Legislative Legal Services, Colorado

Nicole Myers, Senior Attorney, Office of Legislative Legal Services, Colorado

1:30-3 p.m.

Editing Triage (Handout 1| Handout 2)
In this workshop, you will learn editing techniques to quickly diagnose and cure common writing maladies.

Moderator: Cara Meeker, Editor, Office of Legislative Legal Services, Colorado

Speaker: Robert S. Anderson, Lawyering Process Professor, University of Denver Sturm College of Law

3:15-5 p.m.

Roundtable Discussion on Legislative Staff Services - Non-Partisan & Partisan Models (All)
An overview of how Colorado's legislature is staffed, followed by a roundtable discussion, moderated by Colorado staff, concerning how other legislatures are staffed and the impacts that those staffing decisions (partisan vs. nonpartisan, different types of agencies, etc.) have on the functioning of state legislatures.


Dan Cartin, Director of Legislative Legal Services, Colorado
Mike Mauer, Director of Legislative Council

3:15-5 p.m.

State Capitol Tours


Reception at the Colorado State Capitol
NCSL gratefully acknowledges the Society for Human Resource Management and the Colorado Brewers Guild for their generous support of this evening’s reception.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

7 a.m.-5 p.m.


8:30-10:00 a.m.

Employment Law 201 (Handout)
Raise your awareness of fundamental employment law concepts, issues and trends for at-will employees and discuss how they apply in the unique legislative workplace.

Speaker: Marc Scheiner, Associate, Duane Morris LLP

8:30-10:00 a.m.

Editing: Evaluating Bill Drafts for Workability (Handout)
A panel of attorneys and editors will discuss ways to evaluate a bill draft to identify missing elements, test the draft for workability, and examine whether it is likely to meet the stated outcomes.  One approach that will be discussed is editing from the perspective of the end user of the statute - i.e., someone who has to read the statute and implement it or someone who is the ultimate beneficiary of the law.

Moderator: Stephanie Lawyer, Staff Attorney Editor, Legislative Services Agency, Indiana General Assembly
Speakers: Julie Pelegrin, Deputy Director, Office of Legislative Legal Services, Colorado
Peggy Piety, Senior Staff Attorney, Legislative Services Agency, Indiana General Assembly
Effie Ameen, Senior Legislative Editor, Office of Legislative Services, Colorado

10:15-11:30 a.m.

Drafting and Editing Technology (Handout New Brunswick | Handout Texas | Handout Connecticut)
Presentations will be made by legislative staff who have designed their own in-house bill drafting and editing systems; and legislative staff who are using or adapting software will talk about their experiences.

Speakers: Bradford Towson, Associate Legislative Attorney, Legislative Commissioner’s Office, Connecticut
Heather Bannister, Legislative Attorney, Legislative Commissioner’s Office, Connecticut
Kim Poffenroth, Assistant Deputy Attorney General, New Brunswick, Canada
Jennifer Jackson, Counsel, Legislative Counsel, Texas Legislature

11:30 am-1:00 pm

Legal Services Luncheon - Vendor Demos
Bill drafting software vendors will demonstrate their products in the room where the lunch will be served. Attendees may visit vendor booths, if they wish.

NCSL gratefully acknowledges the support of Propylon & Irosoft for the luncheon.

1-2:30 p.m.

From Medical to Recreational: The Evolution of Marijuana Law - What Have Other States Learned (Handout)
This session will explore the recent history of state legalization of medical marijuana and new initiatives to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.  The session will include a discussion of the framework that Colorado and Washington have developed for implementing marijuana laws in light of uncertain federal direction.

Jeremiah Barry, Senior Attorney, Office of Legislative Legal Services, Colorado
Nicole Myers, Senior Attorney, Office of Legislative Legal Services, Colorado

Christopher Blake, Staff Counsel, House Health Care and Wellness Committee, Washington

2:45-3:45 p.m.

Statutory Construction and Interpretation (Handout)
Drafters should be aware of the rules that courts apply when interpreting statutes.  This session reviews the major rules, discusses them in a legislative drafting context, and applies them in exercises.

Moderator: Mike Feehan, Staff Attorney, Bureau of Legislative Research, Arkansas
Speaker: Becky Lennahan, Consultant: former Deputy Director, Colorado Office of Legislative Legal Services

2:45-3:45 p.m.

Editors Shop Talk Roundtable (Editors)
Meet fellow editors at a roundtable to share ideas and ask questions of other editors on such topics as how to use technology to improve efficiencies, manage and schedule personnel during peak workload times and train new staff.  This is your session - bring your questions and ideas.
Co Moderators:
Wendy Jackson, Senior Legislative Editor, Legislative Reference Bureau, Wisconsin
Jackie Gunn, Editor, Legislative Services Office, Idaho
Toni Hobbs, Editor, Legislative Services Office, Idaho

4-5:15 p.m.

The Paperless Legislature: Possibility or Pipe Dream (Handout 1 | Handout 2)
Laptops, tablets, and smart phones are changing the way some legislatures do business.  They are no longer chained to mountains of paper, as bills, amendments, reports and agendas are available online for committee meetings, hearings and floor sessions.  Learn how the process has worked in several states, including benefits, drawbacks, challenges and surprises of going paperless.

Moderator: Bryant Howe, Deputy Director, Legislative Research and General Counsel, Utah
Panelists: Sabrina Lewellen, Deputy Director and Assistant Secretary of the Senate, Arkansas
Charlotte Carter-Yamauchi, Acting Director, Legislative Reference Bureau, Hawaii
Manish Jani, Senior IT Manager, General Assembly, Colorado

Friday, October 11, 2013

7 a.m.- Noon


8:30-10:00 a.m.

A Statute's Journey Through the Branches (Handout 1 | Handout 2 | Handout 3 | Handout 4)
Judge Russell Carparelli, Colorado Court of Appeals, uses a real life statute and litigation involving the interpretation of the statute to show how a statute on prohibitions on selling alcohol to underage people was drafted, how the statute was amended over the years, how the agency implemented it and how the court construed it.    

Moderator: Jennifer Gilroy, Revisor of Statutes, Office of Legislative Legal Services, Colorado
Speakers: Judge Russell E. Carparelli, Colorado Court of Appeals
Honorable Robert “Bob” Gardner, State Representative, Colorado

10:15-11:30 a.m.

Governing in a Purple State (Handout)
Tom Cronin and Bob Loevy, are the co-authors of the book Governing a Purple State.  What is it like to govern in a state where either party can win?  Drawing on their years of polling and studying politics in Colorado and nationally, they will talk about: The trends that are causing shifts from one party control to the other.  What happens when both parties have trouble "managing their tents"? What is the impact of social conservative issues on the parties?  How does polarization in the country affect the political parties?

Moderator: Bob Lackner, Senior Attorney, Office of Legislative Legal Services, Colorado General Assembly
Speakers: Tom Cronin, Professor of American Government & Leadership, Colorado College
Robert Loevy, Professor of Political Science (Retired), Colorado College

Continuing Legal Education

Some programs may qualify for continuing legal education (CLE) credits in states with mandatory CLE. NCSL supplied participants who wished to apply for CLE credit with a Uniform Application for CLE. Final acceptance of CLE hours is the prerogative of each state’s CLE authority.