(Adopted Aug. 11, 2016)
Article I: Name
The name of this staff association is the Research, Editorial, Legal and Committee Staff (RELACS) of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
Article II: Purposes
The purposes of this staff association are to:
A. Provide a national forum to recognize the contributions of committee, legal, editorial, and research legislative staff to the legislative process;
B. Provide professional development opportunities for committee, legal, editorial, and research legislative staff;
C. Improve the quality and effectiveness of staff services to state legislatures, including committee staffing, legal work, bill drafting, code revision and publishing, editing, policy analysis, and research;
D. Enhance communication and information sharing among the persons who provide committee, legal, editorial, or research staffing services to legislatures;
E. Offer a forum for discussion of how these staff can better serve their legislatures; and
F. Promote participation by members of the staff association in the activities of NCSL.
Article III: Staff Association Membership
A person employed by a member legislature of NCSL to provide committee, legal, editorial or research staff services is a member of the staff association, including committee staff, attorneys, paralegals, code revisors, editors, researchers and policy analysts, who support research or legal work, and others who are engaged in bill drafting, code revision or statutory publication, legal research, administrative rules review or compilation, litigation, topical and general research, policy analysis, legislative committee staffing and other relevant services to a member legislature.
Article IV: Executive Committee
A. The executive committee of the staff association is composed of the chair; the vice-chair elected as provided in article VI; the immediate past chair; the editor of the staff association newsletter appointed as provided in article V. B. 2.; and the eight directors elected as provided in article VI.
B. The executive committee shall meet at least twice each conference year. The executive committee may meet at the call of the chair during the NCSL Legislative Summit, at the staff association professional development seminar, or in conjunction with other NCSL meetings or at such other times as a majority of the voting members of the executive committee shall agree. The executive committee may conduct its meetings by any means that allow all members to simultaneously communicate with all other members. A majority of the members of the executive committee constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
C. The executive committee shall:
- Prepare and cause to be presented the staff association’s programs at the NCSL Legislative Summit and the staff association professional development seminar.
- Develop and implement webinars and other professional development activities for members of the staff association.
- Keep the staff association membership informed of developments that relate to the special interests of the staff association’s members.
- Recommend to the staff association membership at the annual business meeting such action as the executive committee deems appropriate.
D. The executive committee shall strongly encourage members of the staff association to apply for membership on the NCSL Executive Committee.
Article V. Officers
A. The officers of the staff association are the immediate past chair, the chair, and the vice-chair.
B. The chair serves a one-year term.
- The chair shall preside at meetings of the executive committee and staff association; the vice-chair shall preside in the absence of the chair. The chair has general management and control of the business and affairs of the staff association, subject to the approval of the executive committee.
- The chair, with the approval of the executive committee, shall appoint the editor of the staff association newsletter, who shall serve at the pleasure of the chair. The chair may appoint committees and committee chairs with the executive committee’s approval and may assign duties to members of committees as necessary to carry out the purposes of the staff association. The chair is a nonvoting member of all committees of the staff association.
C. The vice-chair, who is also the chair-elect, is elected and serves as provided in article VI and becomes the chair in the next conference year. The vice-chair shall serve as the chair of the staff association awards committee.
D. The immediate past chair serves a single one-year term, which may be in addition to the two-term limit for directors.
E. The chair and vice-chair, or their designees, shall serve as the representatives of the staff association on the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee (LSCC) of NCSL and shall participate in the activities and projects of the committees of the LSCC to which they are assigned. If the chair or vice-chair is unable to attend a meeting of the LSCC, the chair may appoint a member of the staff association to attend the meeting and represent the staff association.
Article VI. Nominations, Elections, and Vacancies
A. Each year no later than 90 days prior to the annual staff association business meeting, the chair shall appoint a nominating committee consisting of the immediate past chair who shall serve as chair of the nominating committee, the vice-chair, one director, and two other staff association members. The nominating committee shall select a slate of nominees, which it shall present at the annual business meeting for the consideration of the membership. If the immediate past chair is unable to serve, the executive committee shall appoint another person to chair the nominating committee.
- The nominating committee shall encourage members of the staff association to become candidates for the executive committee and place a notice in the staff association newsletter and through other means of communication regarding forthcoming vacancies. The notice must indicate the names of the persons serving on the nominating committee and must solicit candidates for the executive committee. The nominating committee shall implement an equitable process for evaluating candidates and shall explain that process in the notice of vacancies.
- The membership shall elect the vice-chair and directors for vacant seats at the annual business meeting. Additional nominations for staff association vice-chair and directors may be made at the business meeting from the floor by the members of the staff association.
B. The vice-chair is elected for a term of one year and automatically succeeds the following year to the office of chair to serve as chair for a term of one year.
C. Directors are elected for a two-year term and may be re-elected for a second consecutive term. To the extent practicable, the eight directors must represent committee staff; bill drafters; editors; researchers; legal staff including litigation counsel or committee counsel; staff members engaged in other legislative drafting, code revision, statutory publication, or administrative rules review or compilation; and persons doing other committee, legal, editorial, or research work in state legislatures.
D. If a vacancy arises in the office of chair, the vice-chair shall assume the office of chair and serve the remainder of that term as acting chair. The acting chair shall then succeed to the office of chair the following year. If a vacancy arises in the office of vice-chair for reasons other than the vice-chair advancing to serve as acting chair, a vacancy is created in the office of chair for the next conference year. In this case, the nominating committee must nominate a candidate for chair as part of the slate of nominees for the next conference year.
E. If a vacancy arises in the office of vice-chair for any reason, the executive committee shall appoint a person from among the directors to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term. However, the appointment is only as acting vice-chair, and does not include the chair-elect. At the next annual business meeting of the staff association, the acting vice-chair is eligible for election as chair, if there is a vacancy in the office of chair, or as vice-chair for the ensuing year.
F. If a vacancy arises in the office of director, the chair, with the approval of the executive committee, shall appoint a person to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term.
G. If vacancies arise in both the offices of chair and vice-chair, the executive committee shall appoint from among the current directors and the immediate past chair an acting chair and an acting vice-chair, who shall serve the remainder of the terms. The acting chair and acting vice-chair are eligible to run for their respective offices at the next election and must be included on the slate presented to the membership at the next staff association business meeting.
H. If a member of the staff association is appointed to fill a vacancy as a director on the executive committee and the remainder of the term is one year or less, the member remains eligible for election to two consecutive two-year terms. If the remainder of a term to which a member is appointed as a director is greater than one year, the member is considered to have served one full term and is eligible for election to serve one additional two-year term.
Article VII: Annual Business Meeting; Voting; Amendment of Bylaws
A. The staff association shall hold its annual business meeting in conjunction with the NCSL Legislative Summit. The chair shall preside at the business meeting, and the chair of the nominating committee shall conduct staff association elections. In the absence of the chair, the vice-chair shall preside.
B. Legislative staff who are eligible for membership in the staff association are eligible to vote. Business that requires approval of the staff association requires approval of a majority of the staff association members attending the staff association annual business meeting.
C. An amendment to these bylaws requires a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting during the annual business meeting at which the amendment is presented. The amendment must be submitted to the executive committee at least 30 days before the annual meeting at which it is to be considered for the purpose of review and the executive committee’s recommendation to the annual meeting.
D. The members of the staff association shall be notified of proposed amendments to the staff association bylaws through the staff association newsletter, on the staff association Web page, listservs, or e-mail announcements to all members on the membership list. The notification shall be provided at least 15 days before the annual business meeting and must include a copy of the current bylaws and of all proposed changes. The staff association must consider all amendments that are properly submitted and noticed as provided in this article at the annual business meeting of the staff association. Unless otherwise stated, approved amendments to the bylaws take immediate effect.
E. The executive committee may call a special meeting of the full membership to take up issues relating to the amendment of bylaws at the fall professional development seminar.
Article VIII: Merger of Legal Services Staff Section and Research and Committee Staff Section; Transition Year; Officers; Executive Committee
A. The 2016-17 conference year will serve as a transition year for the merger of the Legal Services Staff Section (LSSS) and the Research and Committee Staff Section (RACSS). Notwithstanding any provision of these bylaws to the contrary:
- The person who served as vice-chair of the LSSS for the 2015-16 conference year and the person who served as vice-chair of the RACSS for the 2015-16 conference year will both assume the positions of co-chair of the RELACS for a one-year term during the 2016-17 conference year. The co-chairs will both serve on the RELACS executive committee for the 2016-17 conference year. The executive committee will select one of the co-chairs to serve as immediate past chair for the 2017-18 conference year.
- For the 2016-17 conference year, the RELACS executive committee includes each director serving on the LSSS executive committee and the RACSS executive committee during the 2015-16 conference year whose term does not expire at the end of the 2015-16 conference year or who is eligible for re-election for the 2016-17 conference year. Each of these directors may continue to serve out the remainder of his or her term or may serve a second term, if re-elected, as applicable. If a person who is eligible to serve a second term chooses not to run for re-election, that person’s position will not be filled unless necessary to achieve a minimum of eight directors on the executive committee.
- For the 2016-17 conference year, the chair of RACSS and the chair of LSSS for the 2015-16 conference year will both serve as immediate past co-chairs and will both serve on the RELACS executive committee for the 2016-17 conference year.
- For the 2017-18 conference year and thereafter, the RELACS executive committee will consist of eight directors, in addition to the editor of the RELACS newsletter, the chair, the vice-chair, and the immediate past chair.
- For the 2016-17 conference year, the co-chairs may appoint a secretary from among the directors who serves at the pleasure of the co-chairs.
B. At the first business meeting of the RELACS at the 2016 NCSL Legislative Summit, the membership of the RELaCS shall consider and adopt bylaws for the RELACS. Adoption of the bylaws requires a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting at the business meeting.
C. This article VIII is repealed Sept. 1, 2018.
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.