RELACS Officers and Committees


About the Research, Editorial, Legal, and Committee Staff Association

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 August 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 will automatically be a member of the new association.

2019-20 Research, Editorial, Legal and Committee Staff Leadership Team

The RELACS Executive Committee represents its membership of research, editing, legal, bill drafting, code revision and publishing, policy analysis, and committee staff.

Chair Vice Chair
Jamie Shanks
Legislative Attorney
Office of Legal Services, Tennessee

Fred Messerer
Principal Deputy Legislative Counsel
Legislative Counsel, California

Immediate Past Chair  

Anne Sappenfield
Legislative Council
Wisconsin Legislature





1st Term Expires

1st Term Expires

Matthew Coke
Research Attorney
Legislative Reference Bureau

Betsy Howerton
Deputy Legislative Counsel
Office of Legislative Counsel
Georgia General Assembly

Mark Cutrona
Legislative Council—Division of Research
Delaware General Assembly

Matt Gehring
Staff Coordinator
MN House Research Department

Erica Warren
Committee Staff Administrator
Legislative Research Commission

Brett Ferguson
Texas Legislative Council

Rachel Weiss
Research Analyst
Legislative Services Division 

Michael Queensland
Senior Staff Attorney
Legislative Council
Wisconsin Legislature
Program Planning Committee

The committee identifies session content and activities for RELACS sessions at the NCSL Legislative Summit, the fall Professional Development Seminar, and webinars. This committee also locates speakers, and conducts other tasks that contribute to the success of the Research, Editorial, Legal, and Committee Staff meetings and webinars. Committee members' term of office: October 2019-September 2020


SuperPDS 2020—RELACS Representative

  • Anne Sappenfield (Wisconsin)

Chair: Staci Duros (Wisconsin)

Vice-chair: Elizabeth Taylor (South Carolina)

  • Brett Ferguson (Texas)
  • John Williams (Tennessee)
  • Samantha Rummage (Tennessee)
  • Antony Lepage (Missouri)
  • Rachel Weiss (Montana)
  • Sean Williams (Minnesota)
  • Kristen Fraser (Washington)
  • Tricia Hines (Oklahoma)
  • Daniela Lopez-Garcia (California)
  • Betsy Howerton (Georgia)
  • Taylor Loyd (Arkansas)
  • Kylah E. Aull (North Dakota)
  • Matthew Coke (Hawaii)
  • Anne Sappenfield (Wisconsin)
Webinar Subcommittee

This subcommittee will focus on planning webinars for RELACS members and report back to the Program Planning Committee. Committee members' term of office: October 2019-September 2020


Vice-Chair: Julie Pelegrin (Colorado)

  • Mark Kuster (Texas)
  • Lisa Weaver (Missouri)
RELACS Report Editorial Board

The Editorial Board will review article submissions for The RELACS Report, and encourage legislative staff to submit articles.  Committee members' term of office: October 2019-September 2020

Chair: Wendy Jackson (Wisconsin)

RELACS Exploratory Committee – Mentorship Program

This committee will look for ways that RELACS members may mentor new members or newer legislative staff.  Committee members' term of office: October 2019-September 2020

Chair: Fred Messerer (California)

Vice Chair: John Snyder (Kentucky)

  • Sharon Eubanks (Colorado)
RELACS Exploratory Committee—Funding for Faculty Travel

This committee will will identify reasonable costs and criteria for awarding speaking stipends or comp registrations for future meetings.  Committee members' term of office: October 2019-September 2020

Chair: Mark Cutrona (Delaware)

Vice Chair: Michael Queensland (Wisconsin)

  • John Treadwell (Alabama)

RELACS Exploratory Committee—Legislative Staff Exchange Program

This committee will review information on other exchange programs and determine how RELACS might replicate a similar program for legislative staff in research, committee, legal or editing fields.  Committee members' term of office: October 2019-September 2020

Chair: Matt Gehring (Minnesota)
Vice Chair: Erica Warren (Kentucky)

  • Angela Alexander (Texas)

This committee seeks nominations to the RELACS Executive Committee from the full membership. Nominees must have support from their leadership or director in order to serve. The Nominations Committee reviews nominees and selects a slate of candidates for election at the NCSL Legislative Summit each summer.

Chair: Anne Sappenfield (Wisconsin)

Vice Chair: Fred Messerer (California)

  • TBD

This committee seeks nominations to receive the annual Legislative Staff Achievement Award (LSAA). This committee also may choose a recipient to receive a special commendation award. Recipients are presented their awards at the RELACS Business Meeting at the NCSL Legislative Summit.

Chair: Fred Messerer (California)

  • Rachel Weiss [Montana]
  • Bryan Vincent [Louisiana]
  • Faith Marcovecchio [Colorado)
  • Shawn Marie Story [Georgia]
  • Jared Swanson [Minnesota]
  • Jill Wolters [Kansas]

Additional Resources