Email Discussion Groups for Legislative Staff

9/8/2016

Join the Email Discussion Groups!

Do you have a question about how other states handle an issue or a problem you've encountered? Or maybe you just want to meet with your counterparts in other states. Whatever your reason, come join one or all of the RELACS email discussion groups.

  • The Legalserv Listserv is for legislative lawyers, bill drafters and other professionals who want to network with staff who deal with similar issues. Typical questions are about drafting and litigation issues.
  • The RchStaff Listserv is for researchers and other professionals who want to network with staff who deal with similar issues. Typical questions are about topical issues and research methods.
  • The CmteStaff Listserv is for committee staff and other professionals who want to network with staff who deal with similar issues. Typical questions are about committee operations, witness/testimony procedures, and types of committees.
  • The Legis-Editor Listserv is for legislative staff who edit bill drafts, amendments, and other legislative documents, and for other professionals who want to network with staff who deal with similar issues. Typical questions are about editing bill drafts, code publishing, and editing software.
  • The Revisor Listserv is for code revisors who would like to share information and ask questions regarding technical issues regarding the statute revision process and code publishing.
  • Each member of the Research, Editorial, Legal, and Committee Staff association, regardless of his or her staff function, may join any or all of the listservs.

How Does it Work?

 It's called a "listserv" in email parlance, and here's how it works. First, you subscribe to the email list of your choice. Then, every email you send, or any other subscriber sends, to that list's address is automatically distributed to all subscribers. So, if you post a question, it will automatically be sent to every subscriber, and each subscriber's response will automatically be sent to every subscriber.

How Do I Subscribe?

To join any of these listservs, send an email to: kae.warnock@ncsl.org and tell her you want to join that discussion group.

Once we verify that you are a state legislative staff member, you will receive a welcome message that provides instructions on how to send emails to the list. It's a good idea to save those instructions. If you have any questions or problems with the process, email Kae Warnock, NCSL liaison to the Research, Editorial, Legal and Committee Staff association, at: kae.warnock@ncsl.org

Etiquette

The purpose of this etiquette section is to remind current and new members of the listservs about the mission of a listserv and to give members some advice about how to use this information tool in a manner that is respectful of the time and interests of fellow subscribers. The RELACS association exists for legislative staff involved in: bill drafting; research; committee administration and staffing; statutory and administrative rule compilation and publication; administrative rules review; litigation; legislative editing and other services to state legislatures. The listservs are forums for legislative staff to exchange information and ideas. This is an excellent place to ask questions about topics you have noticed in your state or to ask other colleagues how their state or their staff handles an issue or problem you've noticed. It is also a great way to get some quick responses on whether other states have a law on a particular topic.

In using the listservs, we ask that participants follow these etiquette guidelines:

  • Introduce yourself when you first join the group.
  • NEVER hit the reply button unless you intend for EVERYONE to read your message.
  • Make sure to hit the reply button, rather than responding to an individual, if your response appears to be of general interest.
  • If you would like others to respond to you directly, please include your own personal email address.
  • If you wish to email an individual, compose a NEW MESSAGE that contains only that person's address.
  • Stick to intended topics of the listserv.
  • Keep messages brief.
  • As a general rule, summarize the message you are responding to rather than including it in your message. However, if the posting is a series of questions in a survey form, it would be preferable to keep the original message and reply to each question presented.
  • If your answer to a question is no, please respond only to the requester and not to the entire listserv. Often the requester does want to be aware of "no" responses but everyone else does not.
  • Use the same subject line as the original query.
  • Do not use capital letters in your email for emphasis as that is considered to be the same as shouting. Instead, use an asterisk before and after the word or phrase you want to emphasize.
  • Please don't send virus alerts or other alerts that do not pertain to the group.
  • Please don't send jokes.
  • Include an opening and a closing to your message.
  • If you are going to be out of the office for an extended period of time and use an automatic response to your messages that says you are out of the office, please check with your email administrator as to how to modify that automatic response so that it does not go out to the rest of the listserv with every posting.

About the Research, Editorial, Legal and Committee Staff association (RELACS)

The Legal Services and Research and Committee Staff Sections voted to merge the two groups into one professional association at the NCSL Legislative Summit in Aug. 2016. The new professional association, the Research, Editorial, Legal, and Committee Staff (RELACS), will continue to offer multiple professional development opportunities that support legislative staff who work in research, editorial, legal and committee roles. As a legislative staffer working in one of these areas, you are automatically a member of the new association. RELACS is dedicated to fostering professional development and communication through NCSL among legislative employees who provide a multitude of services to state legislatures, including research, editing, legal services, committee staffing, bill drafting, code revision, administrative rules review and compilation, policy analysis, and constituent services. 

Additional Resources