RELACS Virtual Meetings Series

6/4/2020

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The Research, Editorial, Legal and Committee Staff (RELACS) professional association is proud to present a multi-part series of interactive webinars and virtual meetings—beginning in July—geared toward legislative staff who conduct research, draft and edit legislation, examine legal issues, and staff legislative committees.

This series will begin with a two-part review of the latest term of the US Supreme Court in July and will include discussions on constitutional issues that may affect remote sessions; emergency powers and legislative oversight; bill drafting; keeping legislative staff engaged; using electronic tools efficiently in online editing; and other issues.

These sessions will feature legislative staff, NCSL staff and other experts. Participants will have the opportunity to share what is happening in their state and ask questions.

Supreme Court Roundup: Part 1

Tuesday, July 28, 2020 | 3 p.m. ET/ 2 p.m. CT/ 1 p.m. MT/ Noon PT

The U.S. Supreme Court had an exciting term with groundbreaking cases and a pivot to virtual oral arguments. Tune-in for this popular program and hear the State and Local Legal Center Chief Counsel and Executive Director Lisa Soronen discuss the most meaningful and impactful Supreme Court cases with state impact. This will be the first of two distinct programs and will focus on the biggest cases decided this term.

Speaker: Lisa Soronen, executive director, State and Local Legal Center (SLLC).

Register Here.

This webinar is open to all legislators, legislative staff and NCSL partner organizations.

Supreme Court Roundup: Part 2

Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020 | 3 p.m. ET/ 2 p.m. CT/ 1 p.m. MT/ Noon PT

The U.S. Supreme Court had an exciting term with groundbreaking cases and a pivot to virtual oral arguments. Tune-in for this popular program and hear the State and Local Legal Center Chief Counsel and Executive Director Lisa Soronen discuss the most meaningful and impactful Supreme Court cases with state impact. This will be the second of two distinct programs and will focus on cases granted for the October 2020 term.

Speaker: Lisa Soronen, executive director, State and Local Legal Center (SLLC).

Register Here.

This webinar is open to all legislators, legislative staff and NCSL partner organizations.

Remote Sessions: Examining Constitutional Issues

Date TBD

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, for the first time in history some legislatures convened remotely or partially remotely and adapted debate and voting procedures to allow for remote participation. In some states, public and media access to the capitol has been limited, and, as a result, the processes for testimony before legislative committees have changed. Do these changes to debate and voting procedures, public testimony and public meetings align with state constitutions? A panel of legislative attorneys will discuss how legislative processes have changed in the wake of COVID-19 and whether there are constitutional issues with these changes.

Speakers:
  • TBD

To register please email relacs.webinars@ncsl.org (This meeting is open to legislators and legislative staff only.)

Emergency Powers and Legislative Oversight

Date TBD

During the 2020 pandemic most governors issued emergency declarations regarding COVID-19. In many states, the laws regarding executive emergency powers were put in place when state constitutions were first drafted. Until the pandemic reached the United States, however, these executive powers have not been tested rigorously. What questions should legislatures be asking about these laws? Does the legislature have authority to intervene in a public health crisis as quickly and completely as it may want or need to? This session will examine existing emergency powers and efforts by legislatures to exercise legislative oversight.

Speakers:

  • TBD

To register please email relacs.webinars@ncsl.org (This meeting is open to legislators and legislative staff only.)

Using Electronic Tools Efficiently in Legislative and Research Editing: When Crisis Presents Opportunity

Date TBD

Legislative and research editors are accustomed to looking for issues of grammar and syntax and communicating those issues using pen and paper. But 2020 has been the year of editing remotely and exploring innovative technology for paperless processes. What practices or electronic tools can help editors do their work from home? This session will examine editing innovations that have been discovered during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speakers:

  • TBD

To register please email relacs.webinars@ncsl.org (This meeting is open to legislators and legislative staff only.)

Redesigning Written Reports for Online Viewing

Date TBD

COVID-19 has drastically affected the work of legislative staff, including the way legislative staff prepare reports for the legislature. Legislators are busier than ever, many are working remotely, and much of what they read is accessed on a computer screen. Redesigning lengthy written documents as more concise, digital files requires an understanding of how to synthesize data and use visually descriptive tools to convey information. This session will explore ways to redesign written reports for online viewing.

Speakers:

  • TBD

To register please email relacs.webinars@ncsl.org (This meeting is open to legislators and legislative staff only.)

Read and Evaluate Research: Vetting for Accuracy and Objectivity

Date TBD

Unlike articles published in established law reviews and medical journals, information online is not always checked for accuracy. There are even some online science “journals” that are not real. As researchers, legislative staff must gather the most accurate information on the policy issues they are asked to study. When there is bias, they must identify that and provide all sides of the issue. But, how do we gather information and determine its source and reliability? Legislative staff with expertise on vetting research will help participants navigate online sources and discuss the best ways to evaluate for reliability and credibility.

This webinar will be open to all legislators, legislative staff and NCSL partner organizations.